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Barcelona are world’s best: Milan coach

Italian Serie A giants AC Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri said his side had drawn ‘the strongest team in the world’ after they were paired with Barcelona in the Champions League football knock-out stage.

The Serie A giants will play the first leg at San Siro Feb 20 and visit the Nou Camp March 12 in the second-round tie, reports Xinhua.

‘We ended up with the strongest team in the world,’ said Allegri after the draw was announced Thursday.

‘We’ll still try to get through this round, hoping to be luckier than we were last year.’

These sides already clashed last season in both the group stage (drawing 2-2 at the Nou Camp and losing 3-2 at home) and the quarterfinals, where they drew 0-0 at San Siro and Milan lost 3-1 in Spain.

Milan vice president Adriano Galliani is stunned that the Rossoneri are to face Barcelona again.

‘It’s incredible, we’ll be playing them six times in just over a year,’ said Galliani.

‘Barcelona were assigned to us because the other teams could not face each other, so we were the default option. Barcelona play the best football in the world with the best players in the world. We’ll try and last season we made a good impression,’ he said.


‘JUVE WILL NOT TAKE CELTIC LIGHTLY’

Italian Serie A side Juventus head coach Antonio Conte claimed that his side would not underestimate Celtic as the two were drawn together in the last 16 of the Champions League football.

The Serie A champions will travel to Glasgow to face Neil Lennon’s side Feb 12, before hosting them.
The 43-year-old Juve coach admitted that the Scottish side will be tough opponents.

‘Celtic are a good team. They qualified from a group that involved Barcelona, Spartak Moscow and Benfica,’ Conte said.

‘They have good players like Giorgios Samaras and Kris Commons. We will go to this game with great enthusiasm, with the greatest respect for them and will try to do our best,’ he said.


ZENIT DRAW REDS IN EUROPA

Zenit St. Petersburg will play English giants Liverpool in the first knockout stage of the Europa League, while Rubin Kazan drew defending champions Atletico Madrid of Spain. Zenit came into the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group behind Malaga and AC Milan.Luciano Spalletti’s men face the top side in the competition’s history for the first time. Liverpool may rely their former Zenit centre back Martin Skrtel for inside information on the Russian champions. Tottenham drew France’s Lyon for the knockouts.
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