All you need to know about Barcelona
Key Player: Lionel Messi
Who else? The Argentine phenomenon is arguably the greatest player of all time and needs no introduction, while he’s twice dashed our own hopes before as he netted in both the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals.
His record versus English sides in this tournament is absolutely astounding, registering a ridiculous 12 times in his past seven starts since 2016/17 – not to mention the four-goal haul he managed against Arsenal in April 2010 – while he’s consistently decisive as he’s produced either the first or last goal of the game in 12 of the 13 matches where he’s scored against English outfits in his career.
He’ll be 32-years-old in June, but like with Cristiano Ronaldo age doesn’t seem to be slowing him down as 26 goals in 23 appearances since mid-December would attest.
Weak Link: Sergi Roberto
Dani Alves was a clear automatic pick once upon a time, especially as he enjoyed a telepathic relationship with Messi, but ever since his departure in the summer of 2016, the Catalans have struggled to fill the hole with the same calibre of player.
Luis Enrique converted midfielder Sergi Roberto to plug the gap, while Nelson Semedo hasn’t really manged to make the spot his own either, and whoever plays there will inevitably be instructed to get forward with aplomb with the full-backs expected to provide width in attack.
That should mean space in behind, which could certainly benefit Anthony Martial on the counter down that flank – particularly if Paul Pogba can link with his fellow countryman on the left or the spear of a midfield trio.
Barca primarily focusing on this tournament
Although Barcelona are closing in on the formalities of an eighth La Liga title in 11 years, they’ve only won the Champions League once in the past seven attempts, with the last three seasons seeing them dumped out at the quarter-final stage.
They’ll be eager to put that right this term, especially after arch rivals Real Madrid have relinquished their grip on the trophy, having won it in four of the past five seasons in an era of unprecedented dominance. The Catalans are heavy favourites to progress to the final, and they won’t be taking us lightly after our comeback against PSG in the last 16.
*all odds are subject to change