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Puyol: "We have great respect for AC Milan"

Speaking to the press, Barcelona defender Carles Puyol looked ahead to the upcoming Champions League tie with Milan and talked candidly of his admiration for the Italian club.


Barcelona captain Carles Puyol spoke to the press in the run-up to the Catalan outfit's Champions League last-16 tie against AC Milan, and spoke of his expectations for Wednesday's first leg at the San Siro. The Camp Nou legend also assessed Barça's form coming into the clash, and discussed the latest on coach Tito Vilanova.

Wednesday's game: "We're facing a very good team. In the dressing room, we know that it's going to be a very difficult tie. If we don't do our job properly we'll be in trouble. Our goal is to keep a clean sheet and get a goal ourselves."

What to expect from the 'Rossoneri': "They're a good team who have changed a lot since last season. They've improved a lot in recent weeks and come into the game in good form. We have a lot of respect for our opponent, especially a legendary club like Milan. In the past they have had players with more experience, whereas now they have younger players. They have less experience but more desire, maybe that'll make them more dangerous."

The Italian side's strengths: "They have very good players. This year they've begun a new project because they have lost some important players from last season. The team is growing all the time."

Key players at the San Siro: "There's no reason for us to fear one single player. Stephan El Sharaawy is in great form, but they're all very good and we have to respect them equally. If they weren't good players they wouldn't be at a club like Milan."

Admiration for Milan: "It's a team I've always loved. It's my second team. I always said that if I left Barcelona I wanted to go to Milan. But I'm too old now and I want to retire at Barça."

Differences between Spanish and Italian football: "The Spanish style of play is more upbeat, more focused on attack. The Italians are very good; maybe their play isn't so exciting, but they're very competitive."

Tito Vilanova's absence: "We're keeping in touch with him, and even if he isn't here he's still working. He's fine, he's in high spirits. Most importantly, he's feeling strong. What he has to do is recover, what we have to do is make sure he has nothing to worry about by getting the right results."

Barcelona's form: "We're going well at the moment and we're looking forward to the match against Milan. We have ten decisive days ahead of us, but we're used to it. At this stage of the season, every game is like a cup final. As a footballer, these are the games you want to play in."

Treble chances this season: "We're going for the treble, but we know it'll be difficult. We're taking each game as it comes."

Reaching 100 caps for Spain: "I'm very proud. It used to be harder to get so many caps, but now a lot of players from this generation are going to do it. It's an honour just being part of this group of players that has made history with the national team."

Estadísticas AS.com