Barcelona v AC Milan: Puyol wary of Ibrahimovic threat
Barcelona captain Carles Puyol warns his team-mates AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be the big threat on Tuesday night
Carles Puyol believes AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the biggest obstacle blocking Barcelona’s progression from the Champions League quarter-finals at the Camp Nou on Tuesday.
The defending champions were unable to score an away goal in a first-leg stalemate at San Siro last Wednesday.
Ibrahimovic was missing for Milan’s trip to Catalonia in the group stages earlier this season but the Swedish striker, who scored 21 goals in his one season with Barcelona in 2009-10, is expected to start the return leg.
“Zlatan is one of the best strikers in the world and difficult to defend against,” said Puyol.
“He’s technically very good and we want him away from the box. It’s not just a job for me, though; the whole team need to keep him under control.
“But many players make the difference for Milan – Ibra, Pato, Robinho, they can all decide a match at any time so we have to be very focused. Not just me, but the whole team.”
Puyol broke into Barcelona’s first-team in 1999 and the Spanish defender has won five La Liga titles and the Champions League twice in a decorated 13-year career at Camp Nou.
And the World Cup winner will make his 550th competitive appearance for Barcelona should he face Milan, overtaking Miguel Bernardo Bianquetti as the player with the second most appearances for the Catalan side – Xavi Hernández holds the record with 618 appearances.
“It’s an honour for me to be in the position to be able to surpass Migueli’s record,” added Puyol.
“I hope to play many more games but I don’t think I will be able to catch up with Xavi, because that’s impossible.”
Pre-match facts: Barcelona v AC Milan
• Barcelona are unbeaten in 14 home fixtures dating back to October 2009, with 12 wins and two draws at the Camp Nou since then, including the 7-1 defeat of Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the last round.
• Seven-times winners AC Milan have won 11 and lost three of the 14 quarter-finals they have contested.
• Barcelona have won their last five quarter-finals – four in a row between 2008 and 2011 – and another in 2006 – their last defeat at this stage was against Juventus in 2003.
• AC Milan have yet to win away in the Champions League this season, posting three draws before the 3-0 loss at Arsenal FC in the last 16.