Barcelona v AC Milan preview

A match which historically would pit two of football’s superpowers

against each other takes place at the Nou Camp with the sides no

longer on a level playing field following the decline of Italian

football. Milan head to Catalonia as Serie A champions but Allegri

concedes they will be underdogs against the side recognised as the

best in the world at present. “We’re ready to play this game, a

game of great prestige and the first in the Champions League this

season,” he told reporters. “We’re going to try to make a good

start and be balanced in defence and attack. Right now, they are

the team playing the best football, they have the highest quality –

both individually and as a team – but we have our own quality,

we’re a good team. “We’re AC Milan, so we must play with courage.

In football, you can never take anything for granted. “There will

be a lot of attention on the match and we must have great respect

for Barcelona. But we have qualities to make it a good football

game. “We’ll go with peace of mind. Tomorrow is not a final, it’s

the first game of the round. It’s against a team who have recently

won a lot but our goal is to go through.” Asked about Zlatan

Ibrahimovic’s return to the Nou Camp following his bittersweet

spell in 2009-10, Allegri said: “He’s proved himself and he’s

proving he can be a champion on the big stage.” Allegri confirmed

he will make changes from the side which drew 2-2 with Lazio in

Friday’s Serie A opener and will choose between Antonio Cassano and

Alexandre Pato to partner Ibrahimovic up front. Makeshift Barcelona

defender Sergio Busquets has urged his Barcelona team-mates to use

tomorrow’s match to bounce back from Saturday’s league

disappointment. Barca let a 2-0 lead slip to draw 2-2 with Real

Sociedad in their second Primera Division game of the season at the

weekend, with holding midfielder Busquets operating in central

defence at the Anoeta. He admitted: “Morale is not the best today

but we’ll give a reaction. “Milan is another game, another

competition, and we’ll go for it. With the help and support of our

fans we’ll make it a great night in the Champions League. “Milan

have great players, especially up front. Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho

and Cassano are very dangerous and we’ll have to keep an eye on

them.” Barca boss Pep Guardiola is still without first-choice

central defensive pair Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique while forward

Alexis Sanchez is out for eight weeks with a hamstring tear.