Barcelona travel to the Etihad today to take on Manchester City in what will surely be a thrilling matchup in the last 16 of Champions League play.
The two sides met last season at the same stage of the competition, with Barcelona winning both matches, 2-0 in Manchester and 2-1 at Camp Nou.
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Despite Barca’s recent success in Europe with three Champions League titles in ten seasons and seven straight quarterfinal appearances, manager Luis Enrique believes there are no favorites in this matchup with the defending Premier League champions.
I don’t think there is a favorite. It is dangerous to speak of favorites in the Champions League – you have to demonstrate yourself on the field.
We need to change mentality for the Champions League and have got two games against a strong opponent. We need to make the best of our game to show we are the superior side.
After losing it is always good to have a game three days later and in a stadium like this against one of the other favorites to win the Champions League. It is more than enough motivation.
We are two teams aiming to win the Champions League. City have made new signings but so have we. City have the same manager but we made a change when Gerardo Martino left. We will find out on the pitch.”
Barcelona are coming off of a rare home loss against Malaga, while City put in their best performance of the season over the weekend with a 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle.
City will be without Yaya Toure, who will miss the first leg due to suspension. It’s a big blow for the Citizens as the club struggled without Yaya while he was away at the Africa Cup of Nations, only to look near perfect on his return.
Barca will be looking to the usual suspects of Messi, Neymar and Suarez to help lead the Catalans to the quarterfinals, as Suarez will surely be keen to put in a class performance in his return to England.