Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta is desperate to finally play at Camp Nou, 14 years after he left Barcelona for good.
Trained at the famous La Masia academy from the age of 15, the midfielder left for regular football when he turned 20 and has never had the chance to play against Barcelona since.
Arsenal drew the Spanish giants twice in the Champions League before Arteta arrived at the club in 2011, but haven’t faced them again until this year.
“I would love to return to Barcelona because of the years I spent there. It’s strange how, since leaving, I’ve never been able to play against them,” the Arsenal captain told El Confidencial.
“I was sorry to miss the first leg, but between the muscular problems, the lack of game time and our big squad, we’ll see what happens now.”
That first leg ended in a 2-0 win for the guests, making Arsenal’s task almost impossible on Wednesday night. There are no illusions within the squad: qualifying is incredibly difficult but we can’t fgive up.
“It’s obvious that they have the upper hand,” Arteta admitted. “Statistics show that it will be complicated for us but in football you cannot say a tie is over until it is over.
“Don’t forget the year Bayern won the treble, we went to Munich and won 2-0 away, and we’ll try and match that result here.”
After losing 3-1 at home in 2013, a 2-0 win at the Allianz Arena wasn’t enough for Arsenal to qualify for the quarter-final. The same scorelines saw us knocked out by AS Monaco at this stage last season too, but keeping Barcelona down to ‘just’ two away goals means the result is, at least, a little more retrievable.
“In a game, you don’t know what’s going to happen, there could be a penalty and a sending off soon after the start, anything can happen.
“What’s certain is that we are going to Barcelona with the mindset of making a comeback.”