Having enjoyed past success against Celtic FC, Deco is "very much looking forward" to FC Barcelona's first knockout round tie against the Scottish title-holders.
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FC Barcelona playmaker Deco is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with Celtic FC on Wednesday. The Portuguese international has fond memories of the Glasgow club dating back to a steamy 2003 night in Seville when he helped José Mourinho's FC Porto edge out the Scottish side 3-2 after extra time to win the UEFA Cup.
Sixteen months later, following a move to Camp Nou, Deco scored his first goal in Barcelona colours in a 3-1 victory at Celtic – still the only home defeat suffered by the Hoops in the UEFA Champions League. Little wonder, then, that the 30-year-old is in a positive mood ahead of this first knockout round first leg. "Celtic are a team I like," said Deco, available again but lacking "rhythm and match sharpness" after a thigh injury. "I have very good memories of the UEFA Cup final and my first Barcelona goal, so I'm very much looking forward to these two games."
Deco has already been to Glasgow this season as Barcelona held Rangers FC to a goalless group-stage draw at Ibrox in October, but he expects a more adventurous approach from their city rivals. "I think Celtic are a stronger team and they won't be playing so defensively," he continued. "They need to take more risks because they are playing at home. This Celtic team is just as strong as the two previous teams I played against, but there is no Henrik Larsson now and he was a very good player for them."
Although they have the luxury of a second leg on home soil against a side yet to win on their UEFA Champions League travels, Deco insists Barcelona know only one way of playing. "We have come to win and we need to have a confident defence in order for us to control the ball," said the Brazilian-born player. "Celtic are a direct team and they will play until the final whistle to get a result. They also have very strong support which makes it easier for them to play at home. We know it will be tough but we're confident of getting a result."