FC Barcelona vs. AC Milan: top flight European night
The Champions League kicks off at the Camp Nou this Tuesday night (20.45 CET) with a sparkling game in store between AC Milan and FC Barcelona - the Spanish and European Champions against the reigning Italian title holders.
Barcelona (FCB).- It\u2019s a spectacular start to Barça\u2019s defence of their Champions League title as Pep Guardiola\u2019s team take on the Italian champions, who remain the second most garlanded club in Europe. The game sees tradition, footballing stars and a commitment to attacking football from both teams at the perfect venue \u2013the Camp Nou. At stake, not just the first three points in Group H, but also European prestige.
Four out of last six titles
Barça and AC Milan haven\u2019t met in the competition since Giuly\u2019s goal in Italy knocked the Italians out in the semi final and set up the victorious Paris final in the 2005/06 season. Since that semi final, Barça have gone on to win three Champions Leagues (05/06, 08/09 and 10/11), whilst Milan won the 06/07 competition, making it four out of the last six Champions League titles between the two.
Piqué and Alexis only Barça players out
Since that last meeting, there have been plenty of changes in both teams, with Ronaldinho, Eto\u2019o and Deco for example, giving way to Villa, Pedro and Cesc amongst others at Barça. Two new faces since that game are Piqué and Alexis of course, but they are in fact the only two Barça players who will miss the game through injury. For Milan, whilst Shevchenko, Kaká and Pirlo have moved on, Nesta and Seedorf are still there, as are Gattuso (suspended) and Inzaghi, (not in Tuesday\u2019s squad). Mexes, Flamini and Taiwo are also out whilst Robinho and Ibrahimovic are both late withdrawals leaving Pato and Cassano as the visitors\u2019 main threat up front.
It\u2019s not just the players who have changed since 2005, as both clubs have enjoyed contrasting fortunes. Barça have enjoyed the most successful period in their history, whilst Milan went 7 years from 2004 to 2011 without lifting the Italian league trophy. Last year\u2019s title, under the guidance of Massimiliano Allegri, is a sure sign that the historic club are back on track to claim their spot in the European elite.