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Why Barcelona shouldn’t underestimate Roma in the Champions League

AS Roma v Qarabag FK - UEFA Champions League Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

There are few who give Roma much hope of defeating Barcelona when the two sides meet in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday but the Catalan giants should be wary of becoming too complacent. Roma are out to win.

Barcelona’s success this season has been emphatic. With just a single loss across three competitions, Ernesto Valverde’s men have proven that they’re a force to be reckoned with, but there’s not a single piece of silverware on display at the Camp Nou from 2018 just yet. There’s still a lot of work to do.

The Champions League trophy is undeniably one that Barcelona are desperate to get their hands on and the draw has been kind to them thus far. With teams like Manchester City, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich all possible opponents in the quarter-finals, it was Roma who were drawn. The narrative that followed was that of an easy victory for the Blaugrana, but winning is never assured in a competition like the Champions League.

In a recent interview with Marca, Roma’s sporting director Monchi spoke about his team’s desire to knock Barcelona out of football’s penultimate club competition.

“There is a very big dream that exists just now at Roma and sometimes that helps you move mountains and achieve impossible things,” he said.

Monchi also spoke about claims that Barcelona celebrated when the draw was announced and might be overlooking their Italian challengers.

“I imagine that it wasn’t as great as been exaggerated with enthusiasm by the media. Roma aren’t a team who many people believe in but we are a good side with many internationals. I’m convinced that Barcelona’s dressing room aren’t overconfident and respect Roma as much as possible and know that at this level, nothing is easy.”

Barcelona are a professional outfit and they know the obstacle that stands in their way, but it’s evident to all that this challenge pales in comparison to what could have been had they have faced a number of other clubs. It is this very assessment that could lead to complacency. Add in the recent over-reliance on Lionel Messi and a dream draw could easily become a nightmare result.

Roma might fall short of qualifying as one of football’s colossal clubs but they boast a line-up that is formidable in its own right. They play a tough defensive style of football and in facing a side like Barcelona they will come ready to tackle one of football’s Goliath’s with a David-esque approach, they know the smaller man doesn’t always lose.

Even a draw at the Camp Nou would give the Italian side a major boost and put the Blaugrana in a precarious position. Make no mistake, Roma might well be huge underdogs but Barcelona should underestimate them at their own peril.

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