Barcelona and Arsenal paired in repeat of 2006 final

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Reigning champions Barcelona and English league leaders Arsenal react to being drawn together in the stand-out tie of the Champions League last-16 draw

Barcelona and Arsenal paired in repeat of 2006 final

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NYON, SWITZERLAND (DECEMBER 14, 2015) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)

1. VARIOUS OF BARCELONA AMBASSADOR AMADOR BERNABÉU TALKING TO OFFICIAL

2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BARCELONA AMBASSADOR, AMADOR BERNABÉU, SAYING:

“For Barcelona, Arsenal I think is a good match for us, for Barcelona, but all the, all the teams is very, very difficult, but we are happy. We would prefer Arsenal over Paris Saint-Germain. Why? Because we played it many many times Paris Saint-Germain. For us Arsenal is a very very good team.”

3. VARIOUS OF ARSENAL GENERAL SECRETARY DAVID MILES TALKING TO OFFICIALS

4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARSENAL GENERAL SECRETARY, DAVID MILES, SAYING:

“Since then (the Champions League final in 2006) we have played Barcelona twice, and obviously they have always had the upper hand, so we are very much hoping we can turn the tables on them this year. When you bear in mind the two games are going to be February and March 2016, we’ve still got a lot of quality players that are out injured, hopefully by the time those two games come to round, we’ll have a full strength-side, and it will be great to take on Barcelona in the two games with a very strong Arsenal side.”

5. VARIOUS OF MILES TALKING TO OFFICIALS

6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARSENAL GENERAL SECRETARY, DAVID MILES, SAYING:

“I mean, we come off the back of a very good 3-0 win in Athens. I think a lot of people didn’t think we could do that. We are top of the Premier League, we are playing well at the moment, so this season could be a good season to, as I said, turn the tables on Barcelona.”

STORY: Holders Barcelona will play Premier League leaders Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League, 10 years after the sides faced each other in the final, following Monday’s (December 14) draw for the first knockout stage.

Arsenal, along with French champions Paris St-Germain and Italian champions Juventus, were considered the hardest match-ups in the pot of teams who finished second in their group, and were therefore one of the teams top-seeded teams like Barcelona would have looked to avoid.

However, Barcelona Ambassador Amador Bernabéu said he was happy to be paired with Arsenal, as opposed to PSG, who they have faced in the last three Champions League campaigns.

“For Barcelona, Arsenal I think is a good match for us, for Barcelona, but all the, all the teams is very, very difficult, but we are happy. We would prefer Arsenal over Paris Saint-Germain. Why? Because we played it many many times Paris Saint-Germain. For us Arsenal is a very very good team,” said Bernabeu after the draw was made in UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon.

Spanish league leaders Barcelona, chasing a sixth title, prevailed 2-1 in the 2006 final at the Stade de France in Paris over Arsenal and also triumphed in the knockout phase in 2010 and 2011.

However, with Arsenal leading the Premier League, and with influential players such as Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez and midfielder Francis Coquelin still to return ahead of the last-16 round in February and March, Arsenal’s General Secretary David Miles believes the Gunners can turn the tables on the reigning European champions.

“Since then (the Champions League final in 2006) we have played Barcelona twice, and obviously they have always had the upper hand, so we are very much hoping we can turn the tables on them this year. When you bear in mind the two games are going to be February and March 2016, we’ve still got a lot of quality players that are out injured, hopefully by the time those two games come to round, we’ll have a full strength-side, and it will be great to take on Barcelona in the two games with a very strong Arsenal side,” said a confident Miles.

“I mean, we come off the back of a very good 3-0 win in Athens. I think a lot of people didn’t think we could do that. We are top of the Premier League, we are playing well at the moment, so this season could be a good season to, as I said, turn the tables on Barcelona,” he added.

Tags : final, 2006, Repeat, Paired, Arsenal, Barcelona

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