‘Always a good time to face Milan’

Andoni Zubizarreta has played down Barcelona’s upcoming meeting with Milan as anything but against the best opponents they can face before Real Madrid.

The Catalans head out to Italy to once more take on the Rossoneri in the Champions League, before then hosting Madrid in the first League Clasico of the season.

However, for Barca’s sporting director, facing two challenging fixtures consecutively is not an issue.

“There is a feeling that it is not the Champions League unless we go to San Siro,” Zubizarreta joked to reporters today in heading out to Italy with the team.

“We have played each other a lot. We are going to a field in which the opponent does not mind closing up against us and that to us will make things more complicated.

“In no way do we have to explain to our players the trajectory of Milan. It is always a good time to play Milan, whether before a Clasico or not.

“It’s another opportunity to play against a great side. If you were to ask Puyol, he will tell you that this is the best team that we can play.”

Focus in recent weeks has been on continued challenges from opponents involving Neymar and whether they are being ignored by referees or the Brazilian is exaggerating his falls.

“To me, I am concerned with his performance and that has been excellent. His adaptation has been very good.

“Then it is up to the referee to decide. I’m not particularly concerned with this issue. I’m very happy with how he is taking to the League.

“If he receives many fouls, it is because he creates danger, creates an imbalance and one of the ways to stop him may be to foul him.”

Barca head into the next two fixtures off the back of a disappointing 0-0 draw at Osasuna in Week 9.

“Milan are a rival in ranking and Saturday, against Madrid, we know what that is. For now, things have been going along very well.

“Drawing against Osasuna before facing Madrid? If we had won every other game and drawn one, if we had won eight of the nine games, then we would have all signed up for that at the start of the season.

“Here everything changes in 48 hours, but you have to look at things with perspective.”

Tags Clasico Milan Neymar Puyol Zubizarreta