Napoli vs Barcelona Champions League preview: where to watch, predicted line-ups, team news

Napoli welcome Barcelona in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 opener – all you need to know.

Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik in training ahead of the Barcelona game
Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik in training ahead of the Barcelona game SSC NAPOLI via Getty Images

Napoli welcome Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on 25 February at 21:00 CET. This page will update with team news, quotes and expert analysis as kick-off approaches.

NAPOLI v BARCELONA: BUILD-UP

CHELSEA V BAYERN PREVIEW

Where to watch the game on TV

Fans can find their local UEFA Champions League broadcast partner(s) here.

Since the group stage

Matchday 2 highlights: Barcelona 2-1 Inter
Matchday 2 highlights: Barcelona 2-1 Inter

Napoli
Form: WWWLWWWLWLLWL
Latest: Brescia 1-2 Napoli, 21/02
Where they stand: 6th in Serie A, Coppa Italia semi-finals

Barcelona

Form: WWWLWWLWWLDWDD
Latest: Barcelona 5-0 Eibar, 22/02
Where they stand: 1st in Liga

Possible line-ups

Napoli: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Maksimović, Mário Rui; Fabián Ruiz, Demme, Zieliński; Callejón, Mertens, Insigne
Out: Koulibaly (thigh)
Doubtful: Milik (knee), Lozano (adductor), Hysaj (knee), Llorente (fever)
Misses next game if booked: Koulibaly, Llorente

Kalidou Koulibaly is still ruled out with a hamstring problem
Kalidou Koulibaly is still ruled out with a hamstring problemGetty Images

Barcelona: Ter Stegen: Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Junior: Arthur, Busquets, De Jong: Messi, Griezmann, Fati
Out: Suárez (knee), Dembélé (hamstring), Alba (groin), Roberto (adductors)
Misses next game if booked: Busquets, Semedo

Expert predictions

Vieri Capretta, Napoli reporter: This has not been an easy season for Napoli, but Gennaro Gattuso's men have put together six wins in their last seven matches, finally finding consistency in their formation and results. The Partenopei have struggled against smaller sides but have beaten the likes of Liverpool and Juventus at home this year, so will definitely be tough customers for Barcelona. Plus the San Paolo can always be a factor in their favour, helping Napoli produce another great European night.

Graham Hunter, Barcelona reporter: Barça have found it tough on the road in recent UEFA Champions League seasons but their last trip to Italy, on Matchday 6, was a 2-1 win against Inter. It is indicative of the situation at Camp Nou that four of that XI are no longer even at the club. Lionel Messi arrives in crisp form; the weekend defeat of Eibar included his seventh four-goal haul for Barça, but it is how sharply the Blaugrana press and defend which will be key.

Lionel Messi on his way to four goals for Barcelona on Saturday
Lionel Messi on his way to four goals for Barcelona on SaturdayGetty Images

What the coaches say

Gennaro Gattuso, Napoli coach: "We're up against a great team made up of great players. We know it's going to be difficult but for myself and my squad it's a source of pride to face a team who are stronger than us who, over the past ten, 15 years, have been one of the best teams in the world. We shouldn’t have any fear: we have to respect them and play our own game with great awareness and dignity."

Quique Setién, Barcelona coach: "I always tell the players that we have to expect the best version of our opposition. Every team needs to give their all and this match will be no different. I know what Napoli are capable of doing [...] in the group stage they did very well up against some top class sides. I'm sure they will be extraordinary here."

Form guide

Napoli 

Matchday 5 highlights: Barcelona 3-1 Dortmund
Matchday 5 highlights: Barcelona 3-1 Dortmund

• Napoli finished second in Group E with 12 points, one behind Liverpool. They picked up seven points in Naples, kicking off with a 2-0 defeat of holders Liverpool and qualifying with a 4-0 win against Genk on Matchday 6 having been held 1-1 by Salzburg. Away from home they drew at Genk (0-0) and Liverpool (1-1) either side of a 3-2 success at Salzburg.

• Serie A runners-up for the second season running in 2018/19, this is Napoli's sixth UEFA Champions League campaign – all in the last nine seasons – and the third to have extended into the knockout rounds. They reached the round of 16 in 2011/12 and 2016/17.

• Both those previous last-16 ties ended in defeat against the eventual winners; Real Madrid beat Napoli 3-1 home and away in 2016/17, five years after Chelsea turned round a 3-1 first-leg defeat in Naples with a 4-1 extra-time success in the return.

• Napoli have won only seven of their last 20 matches in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final (D6 L7) – all those victories bar this season's Matchday 3 success at Salzburg coming at the Stadio San Paolo.

• Having finished third behind Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool in last season's group stage, Napoli beat Zürich (5-1 aggregate) and Salzburg (4-3) in the UEFA Europa League before losing 2-0 away to Arsenal and 1-0 at home in the quarter-finals.

• Despite this season's victories against Liverpool and Genk, Napoli have won only six of their last 12 home games in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final; they have lost three.

• That 2017 defeat by Real Madrid in Naples was Napoli's first home reverse against Spanish visitors (W2 D4).

• Napoli have lost their last four two-legged ties against Spanish opposition: their overall record is W1 L5, the sole victory against Valencia in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup first round (5-1 a, 1-0 h).

Barcelona

Highlights: Salzburg 2-3 Napoli
Highlights: Salzburg 2-3 Napoli

• Barcelona finished with 14 points in Group F, four ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund. Half of those came away from home, the Catalan club drawing 0-0 at Dortmund on Matchday 1 before 2-1 wins at Slavia Praha and Internazionale. At home they beat Inter (2-1) and Dortmund (3-1) and were held 0-0 by Slavia.

• Ansu Fati's winner at Inter on Matchday 6 made him the youngest goalscorer in UEFA Champions League history, aged 17 years 40 days. He eclipsed the previous record, which had stood since 1 October 1997, set by Olympiacos's Peter Ofori-Quaye (17 years 195 days).

• Barça have won only six of their last 16 away matches in European competition (D6 L4).

• The Blaugrana's record away to Serie A clubs is W7 D11 L7. They were without a win in eight trips to Italy (D5 L3), since a 3-2 win at San Siro against AC Milan in the 2011/12 group stage, before the Matchday 6 success at Inter.

• Spanish champions for the 26th time in 2018/19, their fourth title in five years, this is Barcelona's 24th UEFA Champions League campaign, a competition record they share with Real Madrid. They have now reached the round of 16 or better for the last 16 seasons, winning their group every year from 2007/08 onwards.They are unbeaten in their last three group stage campaigns, and have come through their section undefeated a record 13 times.

• Matchday 6 was Barcelona's 150th UEFA Champions League win; only Real Madrid have previously reached that landmark.

• In 2018/19, Barcelona eased past Lyon in the last 16 (0-0 a, 5-1 h) and Manchester United in the quarter-finals (1-0 a, 3-0 h) before a 3-0 first-leg victory against Liverpool in the last four, only for the English club to turn the tables in stunning style at Anfield (0-4).

• Barcelona have been in the round of 16 every year from 2004/05 onwards, winning 13 of those 15 ties. The Blaugrana lost two of the first three ties, most recently against Liverpool in 2006/07, but have won their last 12.

• Barcelona's record in two-legged ties against Italian sides is W8 L5. They have lost their last two, both in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, against Juventus in 2016/17 (0-3 a, 0-0 h) and Roma the following season (4-1 h, 0-3 a).

• Barcelona have lost only two of their last 29 UEFA Champions League fixtures (W18 D9).

• Last season's victory at Manchester United is Barcelona's sole success in eight away UEFA Champions League knockout games (D2 L5), since a 2-0 victory at Arsenal in the 2015/16 round of 16. The wins against United and Arsenal are their sole successes in the last ten such contests, with six defeats.

• Barcelona have been European champions on five occasions, most recently in 2015.

Links and trivia

Highlights: Napoli 4-0 Genk
Highlights: Napoli 4-0 Genk

• Kostas Manolas scored Roma's decisive third goal in that remarkable comeback victory against Barcelona in the 2017/18 quarter-finals.

• Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso faced Barcelona six times in the UEFA Champions League as a player with AC Milan (W2 D2 L2).

• Napoli's January signing Matteo Politano came on a late substitute in both of Internazionale's group games against Barcelona in the autumn.

• Have played in Italy:
Arturo Vidal (Juventus 2011–15)
Neto (Fiorentina 2011–15, Juventus 2015–17)

• Vidal's Serie A record against Napoli with Juventus was W4 D2 L1, with two goals. Vidal also faced Napoli twice in the Italian Super Cup, winning in 2012 and losing two years later, and was in the Juve side beaten by Napoli in the 2011/12 Coppa Italia final.

• Have played in Spain:
José Callejón (Espanyol 2008–11, Real Madrid 2011–13)
Fabián Ruíz (Real Betis 2016–18, Elche 2017 (loan))
Fernando Llorente (Athletic Club 2005–13, Sevilla 2015–16)
Orestis Karnezis (Granada 2013/14 (loan))
Stanislav Lobotka (Celta Vigo 2017–20)

• Mário Rui was a youth player at Valencia in 2008.

• Have played together:
Fernando Llorente & Arturo Vidal (Juventus 2013–15)

• International team-mates:
Fabián Ruiz & Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto (Spain)
Allan & Arthur (Brazil)
Mário Rui & Nélson Semedo (Portugal)

• Diego Maradona represented both clubs, signing for Barcelona in 1982 and winning the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey in his first season. In 1984, after 38 goals in 58 games for the Spanish club, he joined Napoli, going on to win the 1989 UEFA Cup, two Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia and the Italian Super Cup with the Partenopei.

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