?Chelsea are not alone when it comes to being embarrassed by Barcelona, new signing Antonio Rudiger also feels the pain. During his time at AS Roma last season, the Catalans defeated Rudiger’s side 6-1 but now he’s ready for revenge.
Within a recent interview (Evening Standard), the German defender has expressed his desire and eagerness to play Barcelona following the thrashing he received during his time in Italy.
However, Rudiger has assured the Chelsea fans that he will play to the best of his ability, despite the German defender issuing an apology for the teams ‘disgusting performance’ to Roma fans last season.
“Football is played out on the pitch for 90 minutes, it is not what happens before. Anyone who has fear or something like that should not play. You have to be mentally ready when the referee blows the whistle. That’s it. I’m ready for them,” Rudiger said.
The German defender also went onto say: “When I was younger, I was dreaming about playing in a game like this. I think everyone does. I played against them before with AS Roma, but now I’m with Chelsea.”.
In addition to this, Rudiger mentioned the importance of Chelsea’s recent win over Hull City following ?shock defeats to Watford and Bournemouth.
“It was important for us to bounce back after two defeats and is just what we needed,” Rudiger mentioned.
Chelsea will take on the Catalans at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night, where they hope that the Blues home advantage will affect the result.
Premier League champions Chelsea are set to play host to a threatening Barcelona side in what should be a heated match at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
…But there’s no reason why ex-teammates can’t have a cup of tea together ahead of the highly-anticipated clash.
Former Barcelona stars Pedro and Cesc Fabregas now ply their trade at the Bridge, but they both maintain great relationships with their old teammates from Barca.
Asked which one of their former colleagues most they’d like to have a cup of tea with (I’m not sure why either), in a video posted on Twitter by Barcelona, Fabregas replied:
“But also there’s Busi [Busquets], Jordi [Alba] and Andres [Iniesta] with who I played with for so long. So all of them, really.
“With Busi, Jordi, Andres,” Pedro chimed in. “They are the ones I have the best relationship with, so I would have tea with all of them to have a chat about things and have a laugh.”
(You may also be interested in: ?Cesc Fabregas Reveals Continual Contact With Old Barca Teammates Has Ceased Ahead of Crunch Clash
The Blues knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League the last time they met, going on to lift the trophy after defeating Bayern Munich in the final, and they will be hoping to get past the Spanish side this time around as well.
Given the season they’re having, it’s going to be really tough. Yet their league form was nothing to boast about when they stunned La Blaugrana over the course of two legs back in 2012.
Chelsea host Barcelona in one of the real glamour ties of the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday. Both sides possess incredible squads that are the envy of most of the rest of the footballing world.
The Blues have Belgian stars Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, complemented by La Masia graduates Cesc Fabregas and Pedro, while Barcelona boast arguably the finest attacking front line in the game with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Here’s a combined XI of the best players from both the sides.
1. GK: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)
Despite Marc-Andre ter Stegen being a more than able choice between the sticks, the position has to go to Courtois – who is truly world class on his day.
The Belgian has been publicly courted by Real Madrid and has made no secret of his desire to return to Spain some day, after a three-year loan spell at their city rivals Atletico.
2. RB: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Despite moving to a more central role in the backline during Antonio Conte’s tenure at Chelsea, Cesar Azpilicueta is a right-back by trade, and more than merits his spot over Sergi Roberto or Nelson Semedo.
The Spaniard has long been one of the most talented defenders in the Premier League, both defending and going forward, and will be looking to show his talents on a much bigger European stage against Messi, Suarez and co ahead of the World Cup.
3. CB: Andreas Christensen (Chelsea)
Despite this being his first season back at Chelsea after a couple of seasons on loan at Gladbach, Andreas Christensen gets the nod over Samuel Umtiti after a brilliant first half of 2017/18.
The Dane has quickly made himself Antonio Conte’s defensive lynchpin and appears to be the heir to John Terry’s throne in the heart of the backline.
4. CB: Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
Ex-Man Utd man Gerard Pique has had a phenomenal career since swapping Manchester for Catalonia in 2008, lifting every trophy available to him at the heart of the Barça and Spain’s team.
He has been one of the most consistent defenders in world football for a decade and would be a shoo-in for almost any team.
5. LB: Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
A particularly difficult choice, with Marcos Alonso among the best goalscoring defenders in Europe, and one of the bright lights in a mixed season for Chelsea.
However, his fellow Spaniard gets the nod for his experience and proven quality on the big occasions – having excelled in Champions League and Copa del Rey finals.
6. CM: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
The world’s best defensive midfielder on his day, Kante has had a middling season by his own remarkable standards.
The Frenchman became the first person to win the Premier League back-to-back with different clubs, winning the PFA Player of the Year award last season on the way to the title.
He will be vital if Chelsea are to stifle the Barcelona attacking juggernaut.
7. CM: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
With the veteran Spaniard nearing the end of his career, he will be looking to add a fifth European title to his glittering trophy haul.
Despite naturally losing a step over the years, the 33-year-old is still one of the world’s best playmakers and will need to be tracked in order for Chelsea to get a positive result.
8. CM: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
After a decade as a stalwart of the Barcelona and Spain set ups (two of the greatest outfits in football history), little needs to be said about Sergio Busquets, who quietly and expertly goes about his business in midfield.
The Spaniard is invaluable to the Blaugrana, offering cover whilst others bomb forward at will and setting up chances with precision passing and deftness of touch.
9. FW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
No words are needed about the inclusion of Lionel Messi, with the Argentine shouldering the loss of Neymar this season to contribute 27 goals and give Barcelona a firm grip on a league-and-cup double with three months left of the season.
Messi has rather bizarrely never scored against Chelsea, and will be looking to finally end his barren run against the west Londoners.
10. FW: Eden Hazard (Barcelona)
With his status as Chelsea’s livewire, Eden Hazard will be called upon to supply the main attacking threat against the Catalans.
The Blues will likely sit back for long spells, but the Belgian will be confident of exposing Sergi Roberto on the counter attack.
11. FW: Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Having played for Liverpool between 2011 and 2014, Luis Suarez is no stranger to Stamford Bridge, and will be looking to have a positive impact on his return to England.
The Uruguayan is arguably the best number nine in the world and should be a huge threat on Tuesday.
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has revealed that record signing Philippe Coutinho was dropped from his side’s starting XI in their 2-0 win over Eibar on Saturday for the good of the team.
Despite being cup tied for Blaugrana’s last-16 Champions League tie with Chelsea on Tuesday after already being involved in the competition with Liverpool, the Brazilian started this weekend’s historic clash on the substitutes’ bench, with Andres Iniesta the preferred option in midfield.
The 25-year-old had started from the outset during the Catalonians’ goalless draw with Getafe last Sunday but was not called upon again until the 63rd minute during this weekend’s win – one which saw Barca equal a club record of 31 games unbeaten in the Premier Division – after struggling to find a rhythm in his last outing.
Explaining his decision to drop Coutinho, Valverde told reporters, as quoted by Spanish news outlet AS: “I think it was best for my team to try to win.
“Last week Coutinho started, Iniesta didn’t, so this week Iniesta started. It’s true that on Tuesday we have another match but for me the most important thing was this match.
“On Tuesday, let’s see, I know Coutinho cannot play, but we will do something.”
Iniesta will likely be the chosen one again in midfield when Barcelona travel to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening, where Valverde’s outfit will face a side in which they have only claimed victory over twice during their 11 encounters across all competitions since 2005, and a club Lionel Messi is yet to score against.
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Orellana sent off, idiotically, for pummelling the ball away with his fist during a stoppage in play. A lot of talent, few brain cells
— Rik Sharma (@riksharma_) February 17, 2018
Fabian Orellana loves a stupid red card. Two yellows in two minutes – second for bashing ball away with hand while arguing with ref. Relief for Barca who were 1-0 up but still under cosh.
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 17, 2018
So stupid from Orellana, as Eibar were looking better and better. To be fair, Mendilibar should have taken him off already. It had not been his day.
— Euan McTear (@emctear) February 17, 2018
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