Chelsea midfielder, Cesc Fabregas, has revealed that his relationships with his friends at Barcelona would be affected by their upcoming Champions League clash. He also revealed Barcelona’s weak point that Antonio Conte’s men could exploit in the game.
Chelsea host the Spanish side in the first-leg of their Round of 16 tie on Tuesday which will see Fabregas come up against his former side. Fabregas remains close with many of the Barcelona players, with the 30-year-old regularly taking holidays with their star player Lionel Messi.
He’s also particularly close with Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique.
Fabregas said, “I have big friends, friends that I played with since I was 13 years old. “I speak to some of them nearly every day, even when I don’t play against them, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be about football.
“Probably now the contact is a bit less, probably unconsciously because of the game coming up. We are old friends but when we are on the pitch they will try to beat me and I will try to beat them. “For me, friendship is a fantastic thing but in football, when you play against each other, it clearly changes.” The midfielder has no fears he will be able to put his emotions to one side during the tie.
He added, “Of course, it’s my hometown, it’s the club I supported for all my life, but once you step on the pitch it just goes away.
“I did it before with Arsenal. I don’t try, it just happens naturally. You want to do well for your club and that’s it.”
Barcelona are seen as favourites to progress to the quarter-finals but Fabregas said Chelsea can exploit their weaknesses in defence.
“I think they’re still a great side. You can see with Ernesto Valverde they play a different type of formation, especially when they defend they play more of a 4-4-2. “You can see that everyone is committed, everyone is giving their all, defensively and offensively.
“They are a team that try to put the first pressure very, very high, always working to have the ball, so if we can pass this first phase of their pressure, if we have the cool head to do that and not put ourselves under too much pressure, I think we can hurt them, because they will leave a lot of spaces at the back. We have days now to work on the game and I’m sure the manager will find the best solution.”