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Scene set for Barcelona-Milan battle royal
The clash between European nobles Barcelona and AC Milan looks the only wide-open Champions League quarter...
The clash between European nobles Barcelona and AC Milan looks the only wide-open Champions League quarter-final second leg this week with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich all but through and Chelsea in good shape.
Holders Barca drew 0-0 in Milan in the first match last week and Pep Guardiola's side remain favourites to advance but a score draw for the Series A champions on Tuesday would cause a right royal upset.
Fellow European gentry Bayern will be highly confident of progressing on Tuesday against Olympique Marseille having won 2-0 in France last week while possible semi-final opponents Real welcome APOEL Nicosia on Wednesday holding a 3-0 lead.
Chelsea are 1-0 up with a home game to come against Benfica on Wednesday and the London team's improvement under interim coach Roberto Di Matteo, with even Fernando Torres creating and scoring goals, suggests they ought to go through.
Most eyes are therefore focused on the Nou Camp where Barca, lauded by many pundits as the greatest club side of all, take on seven-times European champions Milan and former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Milan looked like the away side for much of last week's game at the San Siro but they kept Barca and World Player of the Year Lionel Messi at bay while also going close through Ibrahimovic and Brazilian Robinho.
"It is the most important match of the year and at the same time the most beautiful one," Guardiola told reporters after a 2-0 home win over Athletic Bilbao in La Liga at the weekend.
"Bilbao don't defend, they come at you. It's completely different from Milan, it's like night and day."
Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri vowed to attack Barca last week but it did not turn out that way as the old Italian defensive traits shone through.