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Barcelona and Milan stirred by familiar foes

Published: Thursday 29 August 2013, 21.05CET
With FC Barcelona and AC Milan drawn against each other for the third year running, representatives of the four teams in Group H were looking forward to some "beautiful" games.
Barcelona and Milan stirred by familiar foes
Andrés Iniesta (left) and Kevin-Prince Boateng after last season's Barcelona-Milan tie ©Getty Images
 
 
 
Published: Thursday 29 August 2013, 21.05CET

Barcelona and Milan stirred by familiar foes

With FC Barcelona and AC Milan drawn against each other for the third year running, representatives of the four teams in Group H were looking forward to some "beautiful" games.

Andoni Zubizarreta, Barcelona sporting director
We have been drawn against very good teams who last year made us work hard until the very last second. We know these sides as well as they know us. If you start well [in this competition] it give you a sense of calm and tranquility. We are not going too badly at the moment. In spite of everything we have gone through in the past few months, we are doing well. We now have to adapt to the changes. In football it is always a question of processes.

Umberto Gandini, Milan director
We joked with the Barcelona directors about facing each other again ahead of the draw: it's the fourth time in three years. This is a fantastic group featuring clubs with great histories. Our fans in Milan have already seen Messi a few times; now they get to have a look at Neymar.

Frank de Boer, Ajax coach
I am pretty satisfied. We drew three fantastic teams and we'll do all we can to make it as difficult as possible for them. Third place would be a good performance already, but obviously we always hope for more. We aim for second, but we're about to lose some important players, that makes a difference.

We have never played against Barcelona before. This is obviously beautiful for our fans to get stars like that to see in our stadium. When we play against Milan they are the favourites, but when we're in good form we can make it difficult for them. We have been able to see Milan play only this week against PSV. PSV put up a lot of resistance and got chances, so let's hope we can also do that. I know Celtic from my days at Rangers. There is always a fantastic atmosphere in that stadium. Celtic have good players, but we're certainly no weaker than them.

Neil Lennon, Celtic manager
It's the worst draw we could have got. In terms of glamour it doesn't come any better but in terms of football, it couldn't have been worse. There's a lot of excitement. They're three great footballing arenas and three great clubs with great pedigree in this competition. There's so much to savour but it's going to be hugely difficult for us.

This means everything to us. It gives us a real solid platform to build on but it's all about the football now; can we take the team on, develop more exciting and attacking teams, and develop more young players as we have done over the last few years?

Everyone at the club still talks about the Lisbon Lions in high esteem. Billy [McNeil] has been a fantastic ambassador for the club and he's a fantastic role model for us all. I'm sure seeing him at the draw, with the trophy, brought back a lot of happy memories for the older Celtic fans and gave the younger ones some extra motivation.

Last updated: 06/09/13 0.37CET

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