‘Always a challenge to play Celtic’

Andoni Zubizarreta has reflected on Barcelona’s task in travelling out to Scotland to take on Celtic this midweek.

Tuesday evening sees the Catalans back at Celtic Park in the Champions League and looking to atone for the 2-1 defeat suffered at the same stage of the competition last season.

Heading out with the squad on Monday morning, Barca’s sporting director conceded to the media the ‘challenge’ the players are aware faces them.

“It is always a pleasure to play at Celtic Park. We already know what happened there last year, whilst the atmosphere is very strong,” mused Zubizarreta to reporters.

“It is a challenge to play there. Every game is a case to unlock. In their field they are very strong and practice a high-pressure game.

“For us to play more or less vertical will matter little, our manner and style at certain moments will.

“No Messi? As Tata already said, we must proceed without the best player in the world, but we have a team of outstanding players.”

Victor Valdes has continued his strong start to the season between the sticks.

“He is great. He is a player who trains very well and is always very focused. I will not comment on his departure [next summer].”

Barca made it a club record seven wins from seven at the weekend and are joined at the top of the table by Atletico Madrid.

“It is a difficult League and it does not surprise me that Atletico are maintaining their pace in the lead.

“I said after the Supercopa de Espana, Atletico have a great squad and are a difficult team to beat because they have a great Coach.

“The points gap over Real Madrid? It is still early, we are at the end of September.”

Tags Celtic Messi Valdes Zubizarreta