Having outclassed Celtic FC to take a significant step towards the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League last night, Eric Abidal warned FC Barcelona's European rivals that "when we play to 100 per cent we cannot be stopped".
Celtic felt the full force of the Spanish club's attacking power in the first leg of their first knockout round contest, Lionel Messi scoring with two lovely finishes either side of a tremendous Thierry Henry strike as Barça triumped 3-2 in Glasgow. Abidal may not have scored himself but he linked up impressively with the returning Ronaldinho as the Brazilian looked to prove a point to coach Frank Rijkaard on his first start since the league loss to Real Madrid CF before Christmas.
"I'm very happy for Ronnie because he's been highly criticised lately," Abidal told uefa.com. "Tonight he showed that we can still count him. We're a united group and it's important to achieve victories together. Our objective beforehand was to head home with a victory, and we did that nicely. When we're playing at 100 per cent we cannot be stopped." Abidal never progressed further than the quarter-finals during his time at Olympique Lyonnais, and hopes for better now he is a fixture at Camp Nou following a €15m summer transfer. "I feel great at Barcelona," said the 28-year-old. "Coming to Barcelona was one of my objectives and now I'm here I have a lot to prove – and win."
Fellow French international Lilian Thuram – for whom the UEFA Champions League represents a glaring omission on a wonderful CV, having lost the 2003 final as a Juventus player – added: "We played a very good game. I think we deserved to win. Thierry Henry scored a beautiful goal which was typical of him. Abidal played well too."
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