If you start with fear, then that hands the game to Barcelona.

Chelsea take on Barcelona tonight in the round of 16 first leg at Stamford Bridge and two ex-Barcelona players have had their say on the ...

Chelsea take on Barcelona tonight in the round of 16 first leg at Stamford Bridge and two ex-Barcelona players have had their say on the tie this evening believing that Barcelona are beatable. 

It’s a game the world will be watching with the memories of previous classic encounters in the Champions League over the years still fresh in our minds. For Barcelona, it’s the next game in their quest to win the treble this season as they will be looking to settle some old scores and will be looking to continue their impressive unbeaten run. As for Chelsea, two ex-Barcelona players have had their say this week – both in contention to start the game – and have encouraged Chelsea to approach the game without fear.

First up is Pedro Rodruiguez who has been excellent at Chelsea in the past couple of seasons having made the move away from Spain. It’s clear the affection he holds in his heart for Barca, but at the same time knowing the majority of the players they have at the club and Lionel Messi, he believes that his old club are beatable and at Chelsea we have the players to do so.

When asked of the previous encounters over the years with the semi-final in 2012 a particular highlight for blues fans all over the world, and the two games coming up, Pedro recalled the fact that at the time Chelsea were horrible and need to be the same again. He said:

“This memory stays with me even now, a very sad day for me and my team-mates. I remember a lot of things: when you control the game and score the first goal, but then Leo (Messi) missed a penalty and then Fernando scored with the game's last touch to finish the tie... I remember it all because it was such a sad day for Barcelona and for all of us.

I remember these games so well. Chelsea were always horrible opponents, very difficult in these games: compact, strong in defence, pressed very well. For that reason, we always found it difficult against them. For the players of Barcelona, they'll be thinking this tie is going to be very tough, this game for them, because Chelsea are strong. Chelsea are compact, and it's never easy to play against us.

The reality is it's not impossible for us. It's possible for us to beat Barcelona and go through into the next round. It's difficult because they're a very great, big team, but it's not impossible. If you start with fear, then that hands it to Barcelona.

It's probably a hard game for us, a massive game, but if the team are really focused on fighting together, you never know in football.

We'll have possibilities to get through. But, obviously, it's Barcelona. It's Leo Messi. It's very difficult to stop this guy because he's very quick, very clever out on the pitch. But, look, it's not impossible.

They're one of the biggest teams in the world. It's easier to win titles there, probably, than over here because they have very good players like Leo Messi and others, the best players in the world. For this reason, I'm very happy to have played my part and to have won those titles with them.

Now it's different. Now I am here, at Chelsea, and defend the badge on this shirt, the Chelsea shirt, with great honour and pride. I hope to win this game and go through in this tie.

It’s a good opportunity for us, a good game to how our qualities and what we can do. The players here, Eden (Hazard) or (Alvaro) Morata or Willy (Willian), are quick players and will be a danger on the counter-attack. They are motivated. That will give us opportunities to score, for sure." Source: The Telegraph.

Another ex-Barcelona player now established as a firm Chelsea favourite – Cesc Fabregas has also been talking to the media ahead of the game. Once again he too is quick to recognise how much the club means to him having come through the ranks first of all, to rejoin the club from Arsenal, but at the same time he is quick to re-iterate that Chelsea are not a team to be written off and are to be taken seriously in the two games despite being clear underdogs. He said:

"They are one of the best teams in the world but we are the last champions of the Premier League, we deserve respect.

We deserve to give it a go. To try and play two good games against them. It has happened in the past. In football, never say never.

Anything can happen and we have to take our chances. We have to create them and take them. That will be very important for us.

Of course [it means a lot to play Barcelona]. To me, and to all players in the world, including the ones who were born there.

But, whether you like Barcelona or not, the 'special' word can be understood in many ways and, as a footballer who likes to live great moments, you know Barcelona offers it, both playing for them or against them.

It is going to be a fascinating round and I am sure we are all going to enjoy the games." Source: The Mirror.

I have my doubts if both will start the game tonight with Cesc Fabregas being the one more likely to do so but it’s great to hear both ex-Barcelona players talking up Chelsea’s chances with Pedro re-affirming that they are not unbeatable.

Whoever steps on that pitch tonight representing Chelsea needs to be up and at their game from the beginning to execute the Antonio Conte game plan.

As Cesc Fabregas has said, anything can happen in football as we have seen so many times before so I would not write him, Antonio Conte or this Chelsea team off just yet.

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