Barcelona Handed Warning Ahead of Champions League Opener


Getty Barcelona goalkeeper Neto

Neto has warned his Barcelona team-mates they can’t afford to be complacent when they open their 2020-21 Champions League campaign on Tuesday against Hungarian champions Ferencvaros at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona are heavy favorites to win the game, but Neto told a pre-match press conference that he expects the visitors to make life difficult for his team in their first fixture in Europe’s top competition.

“We have a lot of respect for Ferencváros. We will have to give our best because they have a great opportunity ahead and will want to take advantage of it. They’ve already won against some great opponents in the previous four qualifying rounds, and they will not make it easy for us. We will fight to get a good result.

“We are looking forward to a great start in this edition of the Champions League. We’re enthusiastic and want to prove ourselves tomorrow.

“It’s an important match. We need a good result because we also know the importance of winning at home. This is the Champions League and the whole team are looking forward to starting.”

Barcelona head into the match after losing 1-0 at Getafe on Saturday. Ronald Koeman’s side may also have one eye on Saturday’s Clasico clash with Real Madrid at the Camp Nou in La Liga.

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Ferencvaros Back in the Big Time

Ferencvaros are back in the group stages of the Champions League for just the second time in the club’s history. The team have had to come through four qualifying rounds to make it this far, but it would be huge shock if they were to get any further.

Their squad consists of just two players who have ever played in Europe’s top competition before. Róbert Mak played in the tournament previously for Zenit St Petersburg, while Oleksandr Zubko featured for Shakhtar Donetsk.

Yet Ferencvaros do head to the Camp Nou unbeaten so far in 2020-21. The team have won eight and drawn three of their 11 matches in all competitions and will surely relish taking on Lionel Messi and Co. at the Camp Nou.

Neto Praises Coutinho, Backs Misfiring Griezmann

Neto also took time out to praise compatriot and Barcelona team-mate Philippe Coutinho. The forward has been in fine form for club and country this season and has three goals and two assists in his last seven games in all competitions.

“I am very happy for Coutinho, but also for me and the team. It’s great to have a friend like him with me on the staff again, and he is also helping us all with his quality. He is proving his level. He has returned very motivated and very strong. He will give us a lot because we know his potential.”

Coutinho was left out of Koeman’s starting XI at the weekend after featuring twice for Brazil during the international break. The 28-year-old could return to the starting XI on Tuesday and will have fond memories of the Champions League after helping Bayern win the European Cup last season while on loan with the Bavarian giants.

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