Just can’t get enough: Barcelona vs Milan in the Round of 16

For those who have been living at the bottom of a well and may not know, Barcelona drew AC Milan in the Round of 16 Champions’ League draw that happened this morning. Barça will first face Milan in the San Siro on February 20. The return leg at the Camp Nou will be on March 12. Surely we’ve been here before? Yes, we have, and recently too. It seems like Milan is one of those teams that we always end up playing.

For me? This is so sudden!

Last season Barça faced Milan in the group stage (2-2 at the Camp Nou and 2-3 at the San Siro) and in the quarter finals (0-0 at the San Siro and 3-1 at the Camp Nou). These were tough, tough games, as Milan were having an excellent season (they ended up 2nd in Serie A behind Juventus), and Barça was plagued with injuries to important players, prompting Pep to experiment with different tactics and formations, with mixed results.

We also played them for the 2010 Gamper Trophy, a silly romp of a game that ended in 1-1 draw and was decided on a very suspect penalty shoot-out. Barça “won” the trophy, then promptly handed it over to Ronaldinho to take home with him, to thunderous applause. Milan also left with a consolation prize in the form of a heavily-discounted Ibrahimovic, only to sell him on to PSG after two seasons.

I will leave others to discuss the ins-and-outs of possible lineups and tactics, and just mention three important points:

The Pitch: After many years of playing on a substandard grass pitch that was difficult to maintain and had to be replaced up to 6 times a year, the San Siro now boasts a hybrid natural/synthetic grass surface (Desso GrassMaster, the same surface as in the Bernabeu). This is excellent news for Barça, as even if the grass is dry or too long, it shouldn’t actually be bald!

The Midfield: Clarence Seedorf, who was sublime against Barça, left Milan at the end of last season, and his replacement Nigel De Jong, is out for the rest of this season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. While I would never wish injury on any player, I must admit I am relieved that our midget army will not be in danger of getting DeJonged!

The Prodigal Son: He’s baaaack!!! Our little Bojanho is all grown up, and all being well may have the opportunity to play against his former team. Won’t that be nice? I’m sure there will be lots of hugging (from the players) and crying (in my twitter timeline) and maybe even some decent football, too. I actually hope Bojan does get to play and does really well—or at least well enough that Milan will decide to keep him permanently.

Hey, guys? Any room for me now? No?

If we are lucky, Tito should be healthy and back with the team by the time the first game is played. Even if he isn’t physically up to making the trip to Milan, I know that the squad will be extra motivated to get a good result to bring back to the mister.

The full list of the Round of 16 match-ups is:

Galatasaray – Schalke 04

Celtic FC – Juventus

Arsenal – Bayern

Xakhtar – Dortmund

AC Milan – Barça

Madrid – United

València – PSG

Porto – Màlaga

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Written by:

Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.


  1. KEVpitt
    December 20, 2012

    Exciting Preview! It seems that La Masia is both churning out incredible players and coaches. Pep, Tito and now Roura. Did’nt know he was in charge of the games earlier in the season against Valencia and Getafe when Tito was sent to the stands against OsaTUNA!

  2. nzm
    December 20, 2012

    Hopefully Tito/Jordi takes the team to Milan a couple of days earlier to avoid last minute hiccups, like volcanoes and long bus rides, even though it was to play the other Milan in the same stadium that time.

  3. December 20, 2012

    Milan haven’t enjoyed a good season so far, but are steadily rising up the table, and are just 6 points off the final CL spot, which frankly isn’t quite bad given the start they had and that you could build an XI from the players that had left the squad this summer.

    Who knows? Come Hlebuary they might give us more than what we’re expecting right now..

  4. Skipper5
    December 20, 2012

    i got the united-RM draw that i was hoping for, that’s the one im most looking forward to. I pray Tito will be back by the tym we face Milan. wouldnt mind Bojan scoring a late consolation goal after the game is already won at Barca 100-1 Milan.

  5. nzm
    December 20, 2012

    Before the Espanyol – Depor game started a couple of minutes ago, the screens at Cornella El-Prat showed an image of Tito with the message “Anims Tito”. How awesome of them.

    • nzm
      December 20, 2012

      and Rayo just beat Levante 2-0 at home! Levante isn’t going to be happy with that result.

    • mom4
      December 20, 2012

      Does this mean I hafta start liking Espanyol? Or dislike them less??
      This is challenging my football worldview.

      On another note, nzm, you’d like the commercial bein sports often shows lately. It’s the All Blacks doing a Haka. So cool.

      • nzm
        December 20, 2012

        They just beat Depor 2-0.

        The haka, huh? And this after your husband fb’d me to say that he watched an AB game and couldn’t understand it. Perhaps they should show some videos on the rules!

        • mom4
          December 20, 2012

          Hey, we now understand the scrum! Well, kinda. 🙂

  6. Josep
    December 20, 2012

    i would sleep with bojan hes so cute

    • December 20, 2012

      A phrase probably uttered before you by a million or so guys around the world :p

      Thanks for the preeeeview Blitzen!

  7. IamXavi6
    December 20, 2012

    I’m so happy with this draw. No Disrespect for Milan who have a wealth of history; but they are in a downward spiral and their squad has no player on it that I fear. Fully expect a 4-1 or a 4-2 aggregate with doing it in quite comfy circumstances.

    As for the other draw, happy united vs Madrid which means one of those 2 will get knocked out and it’ll really test Madrid. Arsenal will
    Get slammed by Bayern.

    Very happy with how the CL is playing out this season! Visca!

  8. nia
    December 20, 2012

    This is the one and only time i will support Man U and i’m sure Tommy Smyth will be nervous about his beloved team being knocked out early.

    • yassir
      December 20, 2012

      Same here nia, i really really don’t like Man Utd.

      • endico
        December 21, 2012

        I don’t see why anyone should dislike Man Utd. They play attractive football and has been one of the most consistent team in Europe in the last 20 years or so. There is no bad blood btw Barca and them.

        • yassir
          December 21, 2012

          Same applies For EE (attractive football, great history and almost always at the top or near the top), but almost every body here hates them. so whats your point exactly???

          • endico
            December 21, 2012

            I am writing because I thought you are a Barca fan. Madrid is our rival therefore the hatred is understable but not Man U excpet you also support Chelsea or Man City. My point is I don’t see why a Barca fan should dislike Man U.

  9. December 20, 2012

    There was a ‘Tito Aurrera’ sign draped in the Catalan flag at the Anoeta during the Real Sociedad – Sevilla game currently going on. How classy of them..

  10. Josep
    December 20, 2012

    does anyone know where I can donate to bfb?

    • December 20, 2012

      Above the banner, there is a “donate” button that links to PayPal, and off you go. Thanks so much in advance. It’s much appreciated.

    • December 20, 2012

      That’s wonderful Joseph. As I know you are such an advocate of people keeping their word, I know you won’t wuss out. Thanks!

  11. December 20, 2012

    Please tell me this Tweet that I received isn’t true:

    If Madrid qualify for the spanish cup semi final they will play Barca – United – Barca – United -Barca

    • yassir
      December 20, 2012

      Yes its true. provided we also qualify to the Copa semi-final.

      • December 20, 2012

        uhmmmm so that means that we would play Madrid – Milan – Madrid – Milan…

        • yassir
          December 20, 2012

          Not sure, but i think we play Milan a week after the EE-Man Utd play their game.

  12. nia
    December 20, 2012

    Real Madrid vs Man U is just like watching the Spanish FA vs English FA. Both teams inject a lot of fear in their countries FA’s. Lets just see how many nasty tackles, cheap shots and how far Fergi and Mou’s rants can take them in Europe. Offcourse Man U are not as nasty as RM but, they sometimes are.

    OOO and hopefully, we get to see CR v CR jr, aka Nani 🙂

  13. Dani_el
    December 21, 2012

    As all, I hope Tito will be healthy and will lead us through the play offs.
    I give to you a real joy from Perarnau Magazine:

    “The pdf analizes in detail the tactical parameters of FC Barcelona in the first half of the 12-13 season, with Tito in charge. The author is Rafael Castillo with assistance from Sita Aguilera and Abel Rojas. It is a well researched and meticulous, prelude of more papers to come that we will publish in 2013. You can download it for free from this link”:

  14. BA
    December 21, 2012

    so on the official Barça club site from yesterday, the video from training shows, if i’m not totally mistaken, one Seydou Keita training in full kit with the team. is he back in the city? are we just letting him hang out at training?

    also here: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2iNj5lPfpYk]

    • nzm
      December 21, 2012

      He’s training in the China off-season.

    • Robert
      December 21, 2012

      He’s training for the African Cup of Nations.

  15. Richzorz
    December 21, 2012

    Possibly the first time I’ve ever been pleased that a (partially) synthetic playing surface will be used!

  16. nzm
    December 21, 2012

    Better news about Tito today.

    Operation went well and it’s not as bad as it could have been.

    No metastasis and the operation was less invasive than originally planned.

    Treatment is also expected to be milder.

    Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Bon Nadal.

    • garry
      December 21, 2012

      You hate all cute things in this world, including……….*gasp*……. teddy bears…

    • December 21, 2012

      You’re not alone; I don’t find him cute either. meh. *run away from Bojan fangirls/boys*

  17. Gogah
    December 21, 2012

    We should not be looking at anything less than €20M for David Villa.

    • Messiah10
      December 21, 2012

      There are some teams out there that need an out & out striker, so I’m sure we could probably get that. Although, with his recent injury, age, and lack of playing time, we may be lucky to get $15-18

    • barca96
      December 21, 2012

      I would find it foolish to sell it in the first place. What if one of our strikers gets injured? *touch wood*.

      Even though he has lost a step or 2 now, it’s better to have him as a backup rather than none.
      Even if Cuenca stays, it’s not like we can rely for goals.

      If he wants to go, let him wait until the end of the season.

  18. barca96
    December 21, 2012

    UEFA has suspended Malaga from European competition next season for failing to pay up the wages of their players. I really feel for the players.

    Can you imagine, your objection is to finish in the top 4 to enter Champions League or top 6 for Europa League but now it doesn’t matter.

    How should they go about it? Still play 100% even though it doesn’t matter at all? I’m sure they won’t be able to play 100% even if they try to.

    • zashaw
      December 21, 2012

      I thought they had loads of cash from their rich new owner. Did that go away?

  19. ooga aga
    December 21, 2012

    thanks NZM for posting the great news about Tito! very very happy, first for him and his family, and then for our team!

  20. Xavi_ani
    December 28, 2012

    Havent watched Milan much this season? Do you think they have a chance better than last season to beat us? No Nesta to mark Messi this tym arnd. Could they park the “bus” this tym arnd?

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