Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has described trying to overcome Barcelona in the Nou Camp as the ultimate challenge, ahead of his old club’s Champions League second leg fixture tonight.
Chelsea and Barcelona have played out some epic encounters in Europe over the years, and tonight’s fixture is finely poised after a tightly fought 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in the first leg.
Lampard was of course part of the Blues team that famously won in the Nou Camp in 2012 via a Fernando Torres goal, before going on to win the tournament.
However, writing in his weekly column in the Telegraph Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer has revealed the size of the task ahead of Antonio Conte’s men at the Nou Camp tonight.
“Make no mistake, Barcelona will dominate possession and squeeze Chelsea high up the pitch.”
“As a player walking into Camp Nou, you respect the place straight away because of the size of it and the history of the club.”
“It is very evident from the moment you roll up what you’re going into. The stadium is huge – you feel it dwarfs you.”
“You feel it mentally and physically. It is a case of how you react and stand up to that unnerving sensation.”
“I think it is the ultimate challenge. Real Madrid have addressed that balance in the last few seasons by winning the trophy three times, but I certainly found playing against Barcelona the biggest hurdle in my career.”
“Even with Real Madrid you can get possession, as we saw with Tottenham in the group stage this season.”
“But Barcelona starve you of the ball so you have to keep concentrating for 90 minutes. The one moment you switch off, they play a ball between the lines and they’re in.” Lampard wrote.