Frank de Boer was speaking at a press conference in Barcelona. PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA-FCB.

Frank de Boer is back at the Camp Nou in search of better fortune than his last visit as Ajax manager, when the Dutch lost 4-0. He’s also back at the club where he played from 1999 and 2003, in the same team as colleague turned rival Luis Enrique: “I have very fond memories of him” said de Boer. “He was the second captain and was a good lad both on and off the pitch. He was a fighter and a winner, an example as a professional”.

So he is more than aware of how tough it is to play at the Camp Nou. “It is hard for any team to get points here" he said. "We'll try using our style and confidence. We have a very young team and they need to learn how to play games like these.”

Frank de Boer is one Leo Messi’s many admirers, telling his pre-match press conference that “He’s broken so many records. It’s incredible because he’s still so young. For me, he’s the best player in the world, not just because of the goals he scores but also because he gives assists. He’s very complete.” And as for Luis Suárez, he said “I like that fact that he’s at Barcelona, because he’s fought hard and ever since he was at Groningen he has tried to get better every year”.

Dutch absences

De Boer left the pressroom to head straight for training with his Ajax players in the Camp Nou. As he confirmed to the media, he’s missing all of Serero, Boilesen and Fischer to injury.