Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has acknowledged that his side have been given the toughest possible test if they are to add to their solitary European Cup success this season.
A semi-final meeting with Milan provides a painful reminder of the last time the club reached the final of Europe’s premier club competition. Under Johan Cruyff Barcelona met Milan in the 1994 finale in Athens, only to be blown away by a magical performance from Milan. That 4-0 defeat was the last time Barca reached the final of the European Cup, although the club has suffered defeats at the semi-final stage in 2000 and 2002.
“In all honestly, it will be very difficult to reach another final,” said Puyol ahead of the semi-final first leg against Milan.
“The closer you get to such an important fixture, the further away it seems.”
Milan have been the most successful club in this competition for the past two decades and Puyol acknowledges that there is gulf in experience between the two teams at this level.
“It’s clear that they have played more games at this level than us and have more experience but we have great faith in ourselves,” continued the Spain central defender.
“What is essential is that we remain fully concentrated until the last minute as it’s essential that we don’t lose. Milan are ruthless at exploiting chances so we can’t afford to make any mistakes.”
“We know that you always have to give that little bit extra if you want to win things.”
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