Carles Puyol is FC Barcelona’s captain and a fervent follower of AC Milan. This Wednesday, however, the captain will defend Barça’s colours against the Italian side in the away leg of the last 16 of the Champions League. In the pre-match press conference, Puyol warned of the dangers AC Milan bring to the pitch: “even though they went through a lot of changes this summer, they are a good team. AC Milan are on form and we have to respect them, especially because they are a historic side.”

Many changes from last year

This will be the fifth showdown between Milan and Barça in two years. One year ago, however, the Italian team was quite different to today’s: “they are building a new project. A year ago they had experienced players. Now they are a team with less experience but they are very eager. Perhaps this makes them more dangerous.” The captain went on to say that Barça “must start off strong and play its style of football, that’s the most important thing. We know it will be a complicated tie if we don’t do a good job.” Puyol is also hoping to “not concede any goals.”

“We’ll fight for the treble”

When asked about Barça’s upcoming matches (Milan, Sevilla and twice against Real Madrid), Puyol said, “we know that these next 10 days are decisive. We’ll fight to win the treble, even though we know it will be very difficult. We have to take it one game at a time until the end of the season."

Contact with Tito

The Barça captain also admitted that he’s remained in contact with Tito Vilanova. “We’re in contact with him. We know that he’s still working and that he watches the games. I recently spoke with him and he’s upbeat and strong, that’s the most important thing. What he needs to do is recover and we need to get good results so he doesn’t have to worry.”