Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Celtic Believe in Barca Miracle

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Striker Miku insists Celtic can beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp, despite claiming the Catalans are the best side in the world.

Celtic meet Barcelona - the 2006, 2009 and 2011 Champions League winners - in Group G on Tuesday night.

Asked whether Celtic could upset the odds, on-loan Getafe striker Miku said: "Absolutely. They have injuries that might give us a chance.

"The game will be seen around the world, so that's maximum motivation."

The 27-year-old Venezuelan spent his senior career in Spain, the last two in the top flight with Getafe, before heading for Celtic Park this season.

"I have won, lost and drawn to Barcelona and this will be a difficult game," Miku said. "They are the best in the world just now.

"If we don't win in the SPL it is terrible, so we will play this game with the same mentality."

Three-time world player of the year Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick in Barcelona's thrilling 5-4 win over Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

"I have played against Messi many times and he is always thinking about the goal. It is possible to stop him, though," insisted Miku, who was a colleague of Barcelona's David Villa and Jordi Alba at Valencia.

"But when you think about Barcelona it is not just Messi; we have to be careful of everybody."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon headed for the Riazor stadium in Galicia immediately after his own side's 5-0 demolition of St Mirren to witness Barca at close quarters.

"It was a privilege to watch Messi play on Saturday," he said. "I don't think I could come up with any superlative to do the man justice.

Barcelona's victory over Deportivo left Lennon in no doubt about the task facing his players, but he believes they can rise to the occasion.

"I'm hoping to have 14 heroes tomorrow night," he said.

"We have pace and technical ability and came off a good result at the weekend. This is a great challenge for the players and one they should embrace."

Dundee United are the only Scottish club to beat Barcelona away from home in a competitive fixture, with the second and last of those victories coming in May 1987.

However, Celtic have come away with a draw in two of their four visits to the Nou Camp and arrive on the back of a confidence-boosting 3-2 win at Spartak Moscow in their previous group game.

"This is the ultimate test away from home," said Lennon.

"We have nothing to lose, but we're not here for a holiday or the tourist attractions. We're here for the football.

"We haven't budgeted for anything from this game, but who knows?

"Players need to show character, mental strength and play to the best of their abilities to overcome what is probably the best team in the world."

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