Barcelona vs. AC Milan  4 - 0

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Barcelona still the best, says Rosell

24 maart 2013 13:56

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell says his club have proven they are still the world's leading football power.

Back-to-back defeats against Real Madrid and a 2-0 Champions League loss away to AC Milan in February had prompted some to speculate this dip was symptomatic of a deeper decline at the club.

But Rosell said in an interview with Mundo Deportivo that there was never any serious cause for concern, and played down the significance of the 4-0 win over Milan.

"If the question is from the point of view of those who began to doubt (it makes sense), because I did not remove any burden," he replied when asked whether victory over AC Milan took a weight off Barcelona.

"If it is from a sporting point of view, because I want to win with Barca, the players were more animated, especially to make sure Tito (Vilanova) had the best reception on his return – that took a thousand kilos off us.

"But if we're talking about a crisis, institutional or in terms of values, I could not see that anywhere because there was no burden to remove. Barca is still the best team in the world.

"I think this story is more to do with the media than reality. These things do not interest me."

Rosell also took the opportunity to praise the work of Jordi Roura, who will step down from his role in charge of the first team after Vilanova's return from cancer treatment in New York.

"For me Roura has been a hero, despite knowing that some people say I exaggerate," the 49-year-old Spaniard said

"He has done extraordinary work and has demonstrated loyalty that is rarely seen in people today. He has done his job very well and so far has earned his salary then we'll see what happens."

Artikel

Barca tie inspires Jallet

16 maart 2013 08:47

Christophe Jallet says Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League quarter-final draw with Barcelona is the tie of the round.

PSG saw off Valencia to secure their place in the quarter-finals, while Barca recorded a stunning comeback victory over AC Milan, before the clubs were paired together in Friday's draw - leaving Jallet pleased with the challenge ahead.

"It's a headline match," he told reporters at a press conference.

"This is not an easy draw. We are excited because this will allow us to gauge our level against the top world level.

"We play football to participate in this kind of meeting, so we will try to take advantage of these two matches. We will have the mindset of a conqueror, and maybe we will exploit that."

PSG take on Saint-Etienne on Saturday - the same side who knocked the Ligue 1 leaders out of the Coupe de la Ligue last November - and Jallet is aware of the threat they will pose.

"They had been well in control at home in the League Cup before taking it to penalties," he said.

"It would be nice to take this opportunity to strengthen our leading position. In any case, it will be a big game.

"We are confident because we have always been able to perform against the big teams this year."

Artikel

Knee surgery sidelines Barca´s Puyol

16 maart 2013 05:43

Barcelona will have to make do without Carles Puyol for up to seven weeks after the veteran captain underwent knee surgery on Friday.

The centre-back appears certain to miss both of Barcelona's Champions League quarter-final matches with Paris Saint-Germain.

Puyol came on as a substitute during his side's emphatic 4-0 victory against AC Milan on Tuesday, but after complaining of discomfort, Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque decided not to include him in his squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with France and Finland this month.

It is not the first time stalwart player's right knee has caused him problems, with the 33-year-old also sidelined last May by a similar problem.

Puyol signed a new three-year deal at Camp Nou in January.

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Mascherano senses Barca revival

14 maart 2013 22:14

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano feels the club's 4-0 win over AC Milan was a sign they have returned to their best form.

After a run which saw them lose three times in four games - two of them against fierce rivals Real Madrid, including a painful Copa del Rey exit - Mascherano said the team knew their standards had slipped.

But after their superb win over Milan in their Champions League round-of-16 second leg in midweek, the Argentine feels the team's intensity levels are back where they should be.

"The most important thing is we qualified, which is a big step," Mascherano said.

"Then, obviously after the analysis of the game we thought differently.

"We went back to doing many things that perhaps in the last few games we did not do.

"Things that have characterised the team for so long, such as pressuring to recover the ball when in attack, the intensity with which we press our opponents.

"They were small things that we were losing, but in the last games we could not do it, and in this team it is very noticeable."

Mascherano said the Milan win had helped release the pressure that had been building on the team.

"During the last 15 days we lived in a situation that many of these guys are not used to," he said.

"You must understand that for four or five years things went well, and perhaps even many in their career did not go through hard times.

"The fact that we lost against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey having lost at the Camp Nou, and then against Milan too, caused the team to receive a lot of criticism, and our tactics were questioned, and well, basically for these last 15 or 20 days we were analysing.

"We realised that we were missing a little of what we saw yesterday, maybe we lost that intensity when we pressed, that order has always characterised us, and we were trying to fix all these things all week."

Artikel

Xavi out of Rayo fixture

13 maart 2013 15:57

Barcelona will be without Xavi for Saturday's La Liga clash with Rayo Vallecano after the midfielder picked up a thigh strain.

The 33-year-old featured for the entirety of the club's 4-0 Champions League last-16 victory over AC Milan on Tuesday but felt discomfort in his right leg in the aftermath of proceedings at Camp Nou.

He underwent tests on Wednesday to determine the full extent of the setback, and they showed an inflammation of the World Cup winner's biceps femoris muscle.

Xavi had only just returned from a hamstring injury - which threw his availability for the European encounter with the Rossoneri into doubt - and must now sit out the visit of the capital club this weekend.

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Allegri laments Milan luck

13 maart 2013 00:57

Massimiliano Allegri says AC Milan were 'centimetres' away from qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Milan's 2-0 advantage from the first meeting in Italy was wiped out by half-time thanks to a Lionel Messi double, before second-half goals from David Villa and Jordi Alba sealed a 4-0 win and a 4-2 aggregate triumph.

The match could have been much different had M'Baye Niang found the back of the net instead of the post, minutes before Messi made it 2-0, and Allegri said the game was always likely to be decided by such small margins.

"Of course, qualification was always going to be a matter of centimetres. We hit the post with Niang, then conceded with Messi," Allegri told reporters.

"In order to play these games, you need legs and I made these choices. If Niang had scored, my choice would've been praised. Luck was with us in the first leg with that deflection into Boateng's path, this time it went against us with Niang hitting the upright.

"This defeat is disappointing for the club, the fans and the lads, as they gave their all and hoped to achieve something remarkable. Tonight it was tough, yet we kept it open to the end and when 3-0 down had some chances that could have gone better.

"Barcelona are the strongest side in the world. Messi and Iniesta kept dribbling with such cool heads in stoppages, Xavi was so sharp. I have to praise my lads for not giving up to the very end, as they could've let their heads drop."

With Champions League football no longer a concern for the rest of the campaign, Allegri encouraged his side to focus on qualifying for the competition next season, with Milan sitting in third place in Serie A.

"On Sunday we face Palermo and our position in Serie A is the most important thing. Our objective right now is to get back into the tournament for next year," he said.

"We had five players in their first Champions League campaign. Tonight's game will help everyone grow. It will be a useful experience."

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura, who is in charge of the team while manager Tito Vilanova is in the USA being treated for throat cancer, was delighted with the win and said it would give the boss a boost.

"Beating Milan 4-0 is not normal for anyone, not even Barcelona," Roura told Sky Sports.

"They are a great team and made life very difficult for us.

"Messi received criticism in recent days, as all our players did, but today we showed that we could react.

"He has a very special way of playing football and the fact he plays like this allows us to have these victories.

"It is a very important win for Vilanova. He is fortunately doing well and completing his recovery in New York, so will soon be back.

"We are happy that we progressed in the Champions League so that we can welcome him back with open arms."

Artikel

UEFA Champions League: Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0 (agg 4-2)

12 maart 2013 23:05

Barcelona marched into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 4-0 victory over AC Milan at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

The Catalans were tipped for an early exit from the competition after a 2-0 loss in Italy in the first leg of their round-of-16 clash, but became the first ever team to recover from that first-leg deficit with a display that showcased the best of their awesome attacking quality.

Lionel Messi needed only five minutes to open the scoring in sublime fashion, before putting his side level on aggregate with his second goal shortly before the interval.

David Villa put Barca 3-0 ahead 10 minutes into the second half, and Jordi Alba added the clincher in the last minute of injury time and Milan, despite a late improvement, could have little complaints about the 4-2 aggregate defeat.

Xavi recovered from a hamstring injury in time to start in the hosts’ midfield, while Villa and Pedro were the ones chosen to line up alongside Messi in attack.

Meanwhile, with Giampaolo Pazzini injured and Mario Balotelli ineligible, Milan lined up with M’Baye Niang, Stephan El Shaarawy and Kevin-Prince Boateng up front.

Barca were dominant right from the first whistle, and were rewarded with the opening goal on five minutes, when Messi linked beautifully with Xavi for a one-two, and curled an equally sublime effort in from the edge of the box.

The first half was shaping up to be a one-sided affair, with Milan hanging on for dear life against wave after wave of Barca attacks.

Ignazio Abate avoided conceding a penalty for a push on Pedro, before Christian Abbiati did excellently to push a splendid half-volley from Andres Iniesta onto the crossbar – with Messi nodding the rebound into the side netting.

Abbiati repeated the trick by tipping a Xavi piledriver around the post, but as the first half progressed, the home side’s chances dried up as Milan began to compose themselves at the back.

And with half time seven minutes away, the visitors nearly struck the killer blow at the other end of the pitch.

A terrible header from Javier Mascherano let in Niang, who had time to pick his spot, but struck the base of the post, leaving the visiting fans grimacing in agony.

And Niang’s miss would become far more costly two minutes later, when Iniesta found Messi lurking, and he drilled precisely into the corner from just outside the area.

The Argentine was at it again immediately after the restart, pouncing on a Kevin Constant giveaway, but after storming into to box, he failed to seriously trouble Abbiati with his finish.

With 55 minutes on the clock, the Catalans would strike again to finally move ahead in the tie.

Xavi’s fantastic pass picked out Villa on the right, who shifted the ball onto his left foot and bent a fine finish into the far corner.

Milan now had to score to progress, and Allegri responded by throwing on Robinho and Sulley Muntari for Niang and Massimo Ambrosini.

Milan improved in the latter stages of the second half, with both Gerard Pique and Alba forced into last-ditch challenges inside the area, though they were somewhat fortunate to see an Alexis Sanchez goal disallowed for offside.

But they still were woefully inadequate up front, and with the seconds ticking away, Alba stole in down the left to latch onto Sanchez's pass and clip a finish past Abbiati to wrap up the victory.

Artikel

Robinho rules out total defence in Spain

12 maart 2013 13:01

Robinho has stressed that AC Milan cannot afford to focus solely on defending in Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona.

The Serie A giants beat the Catalans 2-0 in the first leg of the round-of-16 tie, but the Brazilian expects a difficult match when they meet again at Camp Nou.

"Barcelona have a great team, but anything can happen in football and beating Milan will not be easy for them," he told Cope.

"They will make life difficult for us, and I expect a difficult match. We are ready for the task at hand, though.

"I don't think that we should only try to defend our lead. We have plenty of quality and must attack and defend well. We should play our own game in possession and try to score."

Milan were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Champions League by Barcelona last season, and will be determined to make amends on Tuesday.

Artikel

Shevchenko backs Milan at Nou Camp

12 maart 2013 11:06

Andriy Shevchenko believes AC Milan can reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the expense of Barcelona.

Milan beat Barca 2-0 at San Siro in the first leg, and Shevchenko has little doubt that his side can seal the deal in Tuesday's return.

"I am confident Milan can progress, even though the 2-0 from the first leg is not enough to be completely sure," the former Ukraine star told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Barcelona are one of the strongest teams in the world, and you cannot write them off just because they lost to Milan and Real Madrid.

"However, it is clear that they are vulnerable and are going through a difficult period at the moment. A lot of players are not on top of their game and they have some problems in defence."


Artikel

Roura has faith in stuttering Barca

12 maart 2013 02:05

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura expects his team to produce an impressive performance against AC Milan in the Champions League.

Barca were surprisingly beaten 2-0 by Milan in the round-of-16 first leg at San Siro last month, leaving one of the pre-tournament favourites teetering on the brink of an early elimination.

After also struggling against arch-rivals Real Madrid in the league and Copa del Rey, the Liga leaders defeated Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 on Saturday to continue their march toward the domestic championship.

And Roura, standing in for Tito Vilanova while the head coach under goes treatment for cancer, backed Barca to be at their best on the European stage when Milan arrive at Camp Nou.

"Well, after the run of bad results I talked to the team and this week was pretty intense," he said.

"We worked hard in training and the players responded well and are very keen to show their fight. I am very happy with their work this week and I think it will show on Tuesday.

"Milan's performance in the first leg did not surprise me. I always said that Milan is a very tough place to travel to and they are very good in front of their home fans.

"We were beaten on the day by the better side. I don't know what ... their strategy will be for the second leg, though I guess that having had that good result they'll play to hold it.

"What we do have clear (is) we are going to attack them, we have no choice because that is the only way for us to get back into the match."

After the team struggled with an inconsistent surface in Italy, Barca centre-back Gerard Pique said he hopes the near-flawless turf at Camp Nou will afford the hosts the advantage they need to overturn the deficit and reach the quarter-finals.

"I think that every year since I am part of Barcelona, there have been times when we have not found ourselves in good form," he said.

"Perhaps we have lacked a bit of the spark in the last few games but there will be no excuses from the players tomorrow.

"The pitch will be set up exactly how we want it tomorrow. It will suit our style of play and the fans will fill the stadium and get behind the team.

"I am confident, we have to go out there and do everything we can and the pressure is on them (Milan). We have been criticised in the last few weeks but tomorrow the team is going to do well."

Artikel

Allegri braced for Camp Nou siege

12 maart 2013 01:06

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri believes his team must produce their best Champions League performance yet to get past Barcelona.

Milan go to Camp Nou leading 2-0 on aggregate courtesy of goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari during the first leg in Italy.

But despite their advantage in the round0of-16 tie, Allegri is well aware of the danger La Liga leaders Barca will pose in front of their own fans.

"We will play against a team that will fight to overturn a two-goal deficit, so we must perform better than in the first leg," he said.

"Last year, when we met them in the group stage, Barcelona played with three defenders. We have to be better in defence tomorrow and manage the ball a lot better than we did at home."

Allegri also revealed his intention to field three forwards, in an attempt to avoid being pinned back by Barcelona's possession-based approach.

"Italian football is different to other European leagues. Barcelona always force their opponents to play the same way because of their ball possession," he said.

"If we can keep Barcelona away from our box, then we have a better chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals. We will play with three forwards tomorrow."

The draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions League will be held on Friday.

Artikel

Desailly tips AC Milan upset of Barcelona

11 maart 2013 19:43

Marcel Desailly, a two-time UEFA Champions League winner, has backed AC Milan to qualify for the quarter-finals at the expense of Barcelona.

Milan head to Camp Nou on Tuesday with a 2-0 lead from the first leg and Desailly is confident his former club will do enough to defeat the home side on aggregate.

Desailly won the Champions League in consecutive seasons with Marseille and Milan and believes the Italian club showed the kind of collective spirit required to go far in this season's edition of the continental competition.

"I'll be there and I hope that Milan show the same discipline that they had in the first leg, it was an amazing match," Desailly said.

"(Head coach Massimiliano) Allegri worked very hard to set up on the pitch the sort of collective attitude that Milan showed."

Meanwhile, Desailly weighed into the controversy surrounding one of his other former clubs, claiming Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is right 'every time'.

Abramovich's decision to replace Roberto Di Matteo with Rafael Benitez midway through this English Premier League season has raised plenty of eyebrows but Desailly maintains he is convinced Chelsea is in the right hands.

"I just believe that, every time, Abramovich is right with what he does," Desailly said.

"He removed Carlo Ancelotti at a time when no-one was expecting it, because he saw that Ancelotti had made two or three mistakes.

"At the time he had (Didier) Drogba, (Nicolas) Anelka and (Fernando) Torres and he didn't know how to set them up on the pitch.

"Abramovich loves the game.

"He wants something a bit special.

"When he sees that the coach is frequently making mistakes, he doesn't give him another chance, he's the boss."

Artikel

UEFA Champions League preview: Barcelona v AC Milan

11 maart 2013 15:30

AC Milan will be looking to complete one of the upsets of the Champions League season when they travel to Barcelona on Tuesday.

Massimiliano Allegri's side head into the round-of-16 return leg with a 2-0 aggregate lead after goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari handed Milan victory in last month's first leg at the San Siro.

Despite their aggregate lead, Milan's progression into the quarter-finals is by no means assured against a Barcelona team who have not lost at home in the Champions League in three years and will come out with all guns blazing.

Milan will not be without confidence having gone undefeated in their last 10 matches with their 2-0 win away to Genoa on Friday the perfect preparation for Tuesday's match.

However, they will be without striker Giampaolo Pazzini who suffered a micro-fracture to his right fibula in the Genoa game after opening the scoring for his side.

With Pazzini a constant threat in the first leg and fellow striker Mario Balotelli cup-tied, the absence of key attackers will put greater pressure on the seven-time European champions' defence.

Barcelona have hit a rare spell of bad form recently, not only going down to Milan in the first leg of the tie but also losing twice to bitter rivals Real Madrid in one week.

A comfortable 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna in La Liga on Saturday will have calmed the nerves circling the Camp Nou.

Interim coach Jordi Roura, deputising while Tito Vilanova undergoes cancer treatment, warned his men are up for the challenge against Milan.

"We are very clear how we will play against Milan, and how they want to play us. We are psyched," he said after Saturday's win.

Barca will be buoyed by the return to fitness of key midfielder Xavi, who completed a training session on Sunday after being out with a hamstring strain and should have their full array of attacking talent to choose from.

Although Milan are in a strong position thanks to their heroic first-leg performance, they will have to be at their defensive best to hold one of the best club side's the world has seen at bay for another 90 minutes.

Whatever happens, Tuesday's game promises to be an enthralling finale to the tie.

Artikel

Constant: Milan will not sit back

11 maart 2013 11:14

Kevin Constant says AC Milan will not just sit back and defend in Tuesday's Champions League match at Camp Nou against Barcelona.

The Serie A outfit recorded a 2-0 victory at San Siro in the first leg of the round-of-16 tie, but Constant expects a tough night's work in the second meeting between the two sides.

"We’re all focused on the match against Barcelona. We’re well aware that Tuesday’s match will be very different to the first leg," Constant told Milan Channel.

"We start with a 2-0 lead but we won't be going there just to defend. We'll have to take to the field with the right mentality. They'll have a lot of possession but when we get on the ball we'll have to make it count.

"Barcelona are a great team but they're going through a tough period. It happened to us as well at the start of the season but we'll have to be wary of playing the best team in the world."

The wing-back went on to stress that he's confident Milan have what it takes to make it to the quarter-finals.

"I'm convinced that we'll play a good game and get through to the next round, though. We'll have to make the most of the advantage that we have.

"They'll try and attack from the outset and try to score as quickly as possible and we'll have to be ready for that mentally."

Artikel

Alves: Barca must take risks

11 maart 2013 10:59

Dani Alves believes Barcelona will have to take risks in Tuesday's match against AC Milan if they are to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Spanish champions were beaten 2-0 in the first leg at San Siro and the Brazilian defender is eagerly anticipating this week's return - setting his sights on an 'historical comeback'.

"We will do our utmost to try and win the game. If we don't take risks we won't win, though. We are not afraid of the task at hand," Dani Alves told Barca TV.

"We have shown to be a great team, but we have never completed a historic comeback. Perhaps the moment has come to do it.

"People need to see that you're going to fight to get to the next round. We need to have a connection."

Barcelona last failed to make it out of the round of 16 in 2006/07 when Liverpool proved to be too strong, and have since made it to at least the semi-finals.

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Pique tips Barca three-goal win

10 maart 2013 19:34

Gerard Pique believes Barcelona can secure a 3-0 over AC Milan on Tuesday to secure their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Blaugrana were defeated 2-0 at San Siro in February and will need to pull off an historic comeback in the second leg to have any chance of progressing beyond the last 16.

"AC Milan are a competitive team with a great history, and we knew it would be a difficult clash," Pique told Sport.

"We will attack all game long and be faithful to our style, so we hope to win 3-0 at home."

Barca remain without head coach Tito Vilanova, who is in New York receiving treatment as he recovers from a cancer relapse, and Pique insisted the team must progress without him in the short-term.

"Tito is greatly missed," the Spain centre-back added. "We trust him and want him back.

"We are in a difficult situation without a coach; we are like an orchestra without a conductor. But we'll get over it; Tito is helping us from New York.

"The most important thing is his health and we do not want to put any pressure [on his return], so we will wait until he recovers."

Jordi Roura has been in temporary charge in the absence of Vilanova, and he guided the Catalans to a 2-0 victory on Saturday night.

Artikel

Pazzini ruled out of Barca clash

10 maart 2013 16:05

Giampaolo Pazzini has been ruled out of AC Milan's Champions League clash with Barcelona on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old was forced off with a suspected ankle injury after scoring in his side's 2-0 win over Genoa, with Mario Balotelli replacing him after just 22 minutes.

The striker is set for a scan to determine the full extent of the damage, but he will take no part in the last-16 second-leg clash with the Blaugrana, having been omitted from Massimiliano Allegri's 22-man squad for the trip to Spain.

The news will come as a bitter blow to the Italian giants, with fellow forward Balotelli ineligible to feature also, meaning Stephan El Shaarawy and M'Baye Niang are the only recognised first-team forwards available for selection.

Pazzini has enjoyed an excellent run of form in recent weeks after a difficult start to his Milan career following his move from Inter, having scored six times in six victories in 2013.

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Sanchez: Milan, Deportivo on different scales

10 maart 2013 13:50

Alexis Sanchez is gearing himself up for the fight as Barcelona attempt to overhaul AC Milan's 2-0 lead in the Champions League last-16 tie.

The Blaugrana go into the fixture on the back of a 2-0 La Liga win over Deportivo La Coruna - a game in which Sanchez opened the scoring before Lionel Messi added a late second - but the Chile international acknowledged Tuesday's clash will be a very different proposition.

"We had to win, it was important," the former Udinese forward said.

"We also have to win on Tuesday against Milan. Defeats in these matches leave a mark, but on Tuesday there is a battle we must win one way or another."

Barcelona face a daunting task as they attempt to overcome the San Siro club to continue their pursuit of a fifth European crown, but midfielder Thiago Alcantara insisted the squad is full of belief.

"We're playing for our lives in the Champions League, the most important title there is," the 21-year-old told Mundo Deportivo.

"We'll try to get a good result. Victory helps us boost our morale. We're optimistic ahead of the match against Milan."

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Roura: Barcelona ´psyched´ for Milan clash

10 maart 2013 01:36

Barcelona stand-in coach Jordi Roura says his side will head into Tuesday's Champions League match against AC Milan with confidence.

The Spanish giants tightened their stranglehold at the top of La Liga as goals from Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi gave them a 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

Roura said the win would provide a timely boost for the second leg against AC Milan, with his men needing to reverse a 2-0 deficit against their Serie A opponents to progress.

"We are very clear how we will play against Milan, and how they want to play us. We are psyched," the 45-year-old told reporters.

"The Liga is key for us, we shouldn't forget that. Three points were important, and we're keeping our lead (14 points). The game we played today benefits us. Not conceding was important."

Sanchez, who has been a bit-part player at Camp Nou this season, put in an instrumental performance but Roura was coy over whether the Chilean would start against AC Milan.

"Alexis playing on Tuesday is an option. He was important tonight and helped us a lot, scoring and moving well," he said.

"(Cesc) Fabregas? Everyone has good and bad games in a season, but Cesc is having a great season, he has played some extraordinary games.

"Xavi has trained yesterday, we'll see how he recovers from that, and we'll decide later if he can play on Tuesday.

"Some might predict who plays and who will not play against Milan, but the starting line-up is yet to be decided. Having all players competing is good for the team."

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Montolivo relishing Barca Test

9 maart 2013 10:49

AC Milan midfielder Riccardo Montolivo is eagerly anticipating Tuesday's Champions League round-of-16 second leg against Barcelona.

The Serie A giants recorded a 2-0 win in the first leg at San Siro, but the midfielder is not convinced that his side have one foot in the quarter-finals.

"We have to remember how we played in the first leg against Barcelona," Montolivo told the club's official website.

"We'll have to make sacrifices and show the right spirit. They're convinced they can win and we just have to play our own game."

Montolivo went on to voice his delight with Friday's 2-0 league win over Genoa at the Luigi Ferraris.

"It was a tough game and these are three big points. We showed the right spirit and we gave as good as we got," he said.

"We won by suffering. Before Friday we've won by playing well, but to climb high you have to do both of those things."

Milan sit third in the Serie A table with 51 points from 28 games.

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Fabregas faith in Barca resurgence

8 maart 2013 15:23

Cesc Fabregas is confident Barcelona will rise to the occasion in the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie against AC Milan.

The midfielder admitted losing the first leg 2-0 was a huge blow for the Catalan club, but he has little doubt Barca can turn things around at Camp Nou.

"The team is fine. We suffered after the match against Milan. Our confidence went down and we felt that against Madrid in the Copa del Rey and the league," Fabregas said.

"However, nobody doubts we can do it again, that we can turn it around. But it all depends on us. On big occasions, these players have always been there. The players are more than capable of playing in big games.

"If we win and play well it could be an incredible boost for the team. We have to be clever and we can’t just play with our hearts, but with our heads as well. This generation of players is due a historic comeback."

The Blaugrana host Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday before taking on Milan on Tuesday.

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Baia believes in Barcelona bounce back

7 maart 2013 14:49

Former Barcelona shot-stopper Vitor Baia is confident his old side can produce a comeback to topple AC Milan in the Champions League.

The Blaugrana were beaten 2-0 at San Siro in the first leg of the round-of-16 tie late last month, but Baia has little doubt that they will eventually emerge victorious once the home tie is complete.

"Knowing the players, the fans and the club's history, I am confident that Barcelona have what it takes to pull off a historical comeback against Milan," Vitor Baia told La Xarxa.

The former Portugal goalkeeper also had his say on Victor Valdes' four-match ban following his dismissal against Real Madrid, and feels the punishment is rather harsh.

"Valdes' four-game suspension is a very severe punishment," he added.

"It's a lot of games for a player who pretty much has a clean sheet when it comes to this kind of behaviour.

"It can be difficult to keep your emotions in check when you think an injustice has happened and that's how Victor must have felt."

Valdes will miss La Liga games against Deportivo La Coruna, Rayo Vallecano, Celta de Vigo and Real Mallorca due to his ban.

Stand

# Team GW S P
1 6 +17 16
2 6 +11 14
3 6 +7 14
4 6 +2 13
5 6 +11 12

Stand

# Team GW S P
4 5 +4 11
5 5 +6 8
6 5 +2 8
7 5 +0 8
8 5 +0 7