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It is the most glamorous, prestigious and certainly most difficult draw as Paris Saint-Germain were paired up with FC Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League earlier today.
You could sense the fascination by those at the draw in Nyon. One of Europe’s progressive forces coming up against the finished article. Without question the most advanced, enticing and enjoyable team to watch on the planet (there will be those that will disagree with that) coming to the Parc des Princes for the first-leg on Tuesday 2nd April. We will then travel to Catalonia a week later on Wednesday the 10th harbouring dreams of pulling off a major upset. It is all rather exciting isn’t it?
People will say this and that about what has been spent by us. That PSG should be on a par with some of Europe’s elite. Yes, in a way we are but in terms of Barcelona, we are coming up an entity in a different league. Are they beatable? Yes. Can we take inspiration from others to overcome them? Yes. But in terms of experience at this stage of the competition, they cascade a huge shadow over us in that respect. We are still novices in the tournament but if ever there was a tie to draw inspiration from it is this one. The players will certainly be up for it and the likes of Maxwell, Thiago Motta and of course Zlatan Ibrahimovic – thinking he has a point to prove – coming up against their former employers.
Speaking of inspiration, we overcame the Blaugrana at this stage 18 years ago. We earnt a valiant 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou before a marvellous 2-1 win at home thanks to goals by Rai and Vincent Guerin. However, they got their revenge two years later, beating us in the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup thanks to a Ronaldo penalty.
Carlo Ancelotti; “It’s wonderful, we are very happy! We know it will be very difficult. But it will be a good test for us.”