Barcelona and Lionel Messi can
write new chapters in the record books on Tuesday if they are
able to break out of the straightjacket imposed on them by AC
Milan and reach the Champions League semi-finals.
The seven-times European Cup winners held Barca to a rare
0-0 draw in their quarter-final first leg at the San Siro last
week, their rugged defence denying the in-form Messi a goal with
some well-organised harrying and hustling.
Holders Barca are bidding to become the first team to win
consecutive Champions League titles and a fifth semi-final
appearance in a row would match the record set by arch-rivals
Real Madrid between 1956 and 1960.
World Player of the Year Messi needs one more goal to break
the Champions League season record of 12 goals, set by himself
last season and Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2003 and also notch up
his 50th goal of the competition.
The Argentine netted his 56th goal of the season from the
penalty spot as Barca overcame Athletic Bilbao 2-0 at home on
Saturday, keeping them six points behind leaders Real Madrid in
Barca have not lost at home in Europe since 2009 while Milan
have yet to win away this season in the Champions League but did
grab a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp in the group stage in September.
A repeat in Tuesday's last-eight second leg would put the
"Milan have great players, they are a great team and they
will make life very difficult," Barca forward Pedro told
reporters on Sunday.
"We could dominate, but we will never be able to relax
because they can turn the game in a moment."
Barca will at least be able to rely on their immaculate
'billiard table' playing surface at the Nou Camp after posting
an official complaint to UEFA over the poor state of the pitch
in Milan last week.
Serie A leaders Milan drew 1-1 at Catania on Saturday and
were aggrieved for a second time this season that a goal which
seemed to have crossed the line was not awarded. Robinho was the
The Brazilian has been working his way back to full fitness
and should again start at Barca although compatriot Alexandre
Pato is in the frame again after a visit to a back specialist in
the United States looks to have cured his nagging injury.
"Tuesday will be a very difficult battle, we will go for
it," coach Massimiliano Allegri told reporters. "We don't need
extra stimulus for this one. We need to perform at our very
Alessandro Nesta, who gave Messi a rough ride in the first
leg, was rested against Catania because of a knock but the
36-year-old may return at the Nou Camp while right-back Ignazio
Abate and midfielder Alberto Aquilani returned to action on
Saturday after spells out.
Goalkeeper Christian Abbiati is travelling despite a minor
injury but centre-back Thiago Silva and midfielders Mark van
Bommel and Gennaro Gattuso are out.
Barcelona: 1-Victor Valdes; 2-Dani Alves, 14-Javier
Mascherano, 3-Gerard Pique, 5-Carles Puyol; 6- Xavi, 8-Andres
Iniesta, 16-Sergio Busquets; 4-Cesc Fabregas, 10-Lionel Messi,
Milan: 32-Christian Abbiati; 20-Ignazio Abate, 25-Daniele
Bonera, 5-Philippe Mexes, 77-Luca Antonini; 22-Antonio Nocerino,
23-Massimo Ambrosini, 10-Clarence Seedorf; 27-Kevin-Prince
Boateng; 70-Robinho; 11-Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands).
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