Tuesday 20 March 2018

David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri could make Barcelona XI - Iniesta

David Silva celebrates with team mates
David Silva celebrates with team mates

Tom Sheen

Barcelona star Andres Iniesta says he is expecting a hugely demanding test from Manchester City, as the two teams prepare to do battle in the last-16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Iniesta, who played 67 minutes as Barcelona saw their 11 game winning run come to an end against Malaga on Saturday, believes City have got better since the two teams met last year at the same stage of the competition.

Barcelona went through 4-1 on aggregate in controversial circumstances, with Martin Demichelis being sent off in the first leg and Pablo Zabaleta seeing red in the Nou Camp.

But Iniesta is expecting a tougher opponent when the two sides meet at the Etihad.

"Manchester City is a great team that has signed really good players this year," Iniesta said, speaking as a Nissan ambassador.

"Against these rivals and taking into account that we are in the [Champions League]qualifying stage, as it was last year, it’s these details that could make the difference.

"The two games will be really demanding and we will have to play our best football."

Iniesta was also asked which City players would make it into the team, and pointed to four men who could be key if the Premuer League club is to progress.

"The sport director is the one who decides the new signings - but there is no doubt about the great quality of the players such as [David] Silva, [Sergio ]Agüero, our ex-teammate Yaya Touré, [Samir] Nasri...

"It is not about paying attention to few players but to all the team. As a player it’s always nice to play against the best players and City has them."

Despite losing ground in the race for the Spanish title at the weekend, Iniesta said the team is still aiming to reach the Champions League final in Berlin.

"The team is focused and has the objective to get to Berlin," he added. "This is what we all want to achieve in this special competition. To win the Champions League again is a thrilling challenge.

"Any team that we play against in the knockout stage is a candidate to win it. Real Madrid, Bayern, Chelsea, PSG are teams with great potential to qualify for the last stages of the competition."

Iniesta also said that Lionel Messi "surprises" Barcelona players every day. "It is spectacular to be next to him."

Iniesta was speaking to Nissan, the official automotive sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, as part of his role as the car manufacturer’s global ambassador.

Independent News Service

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