Barcelona will be taking on Manchester City in the first Champions league knockout stages. It is one of the high-profile match of this stage since both the teams are favourites to win the title. City may not have taken part in this stage of the competition before, but they are complete as a team according to Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas. He says that the Catalan club need to be at the best if they need to think about playing in the quarter-finals. Barcelona have been one of the most successful teams in the tournament over the last few years having won this trophy three times since 2006.
This will be a stern test for the club, who are struggling to find a new direction under Gerardo Martino. The style of play has been criticised by several members this season, as the Argentine has tried to introduce long balls into Barcelona’s football. City have spent more than £ 1 billion in transfer fees alone since the takeover of Abu Dhabi owners. As a result, they have one of the strongest squads in Europe with top quality players available as reserves for each position. Further, City recently welcomed the Sergio Aguero back from injury. The former Atletico Madrid striker is the top scorer for the club this campaign.
“I’ve seen them 10 or 12 times, I know them well. They have a very complete, balanced and competitive squad. They can break from very deep with Yaya Toure as their leader and they have players who can change games such as (Samir) Nasri, David Silva and Jesus Navas. Kun Aguero is very competitive for them in attack and I think Alvaro Negredo has found a style of football that really suits him. It will be a very difficult game,” said Fabregas ahead of the match in February.