Puyol and Ibrahimovic at the San Siro. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Pep Guardiola recently said that Milan was the only team that he would prefer to not face in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The draw wasn’t kind to the Barça manager as it paired up Italians and Catalans for the second time this season. At first glance, it’s the most attractive matchup of the quarter-finals. In fact, between the two teams, 11 European Cup titles have been won.

Guardiola, who didn’t want to play against the Italian side because his team has already faced Milan twice this season in the group stage of the Champions League, has nothing but respect for Allegri’s men. Barça’s first game of the Champions League ended in a two-all draw after Thiago Silva scored the equaliser in added time. On the fifth matchday, Barça brilliantly sealed first place in the group at the San Siro by winning 2-3, with goals from Van Bommel (own goal), Messi and Xavi.  

A European classic

Besides the most recent matches, the Milan-Barça fixture is a classic in European football. For example, in 2006 the Azulgranas obtained their ticket to the Rome final thanks to a goal from Ludovic Giuly in the away match in Italy. The Italians saw Barça off in convincing fashion in the 1994 Athens final, where they won by 4-0.

The legendary Milan side coached by Sacchi also won the European Super Cup by beating out a very young Dream Team in 1989. The game that ended with the most goals was the match between AC Milan and Helenio Herrera’s Barça in 1956/60, the Azulgranas won 5-1.

Leaders of the Calcio

The Lombardy side is coached by Massimiliano Allegri. They are the reigning Italian League champions and they currently enjoy a four-point lead at the top of the table over Juventus. Their top goal scorer in international competitions is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede, along with Zambrotta and Van Bommel, are the three ex-Barça players that currently play for AC Milan. The Italian side qualified for the quarter-finals after beating Arsenal 4-0 in Italy and losing 0-3 in London.

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