Barcelona superstar Andres Iniesta admits Chelsea are a threat in the race to win the Champions League this season.
The Blues pulled off a might shock to lift Europe’s ultimate honour last season, beating Barca in an enthralling semi-final before penalty shootout glory against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Domestic rivals Real Madrid are also amongst the leading contenders this season, according to the Spanish international midfielder, as well as the beaten finalists from last year.
"Chelsea, as current holders, Bayern and Madrid are the strongest teams in this Champions League, although there a number of teams that have a chance to make it as well,” said Iniesta, according to SkySports.
The 28-year-old was on the scoresheet for Barcelona in their 2-1 midweek win over Celtic, with the La Liga giants struggling to an injury-time victory against the SPL leaders.
Despite the nature of the win, Tito Vilanova’s side retained their 100% record in Group G, and are now just one more win away from qualification to the knockout stages.
Iniesta made his debut in the competition a decade ago, and admits he’s privileged to play alongside some of the best players in the world on football’s biggest club stage.
"It is ten years now [since his Champions League debut] and I have improved and become a better player," he added.
"I have done all I can to be at my best to play for Barca and the Spain team, but I never dreamed that things would go as well as they have done. I feel privileged and hope that I can continue playing for a few years yet."
Unlike Barcelona, Chelsea are far from certain of qualification to the last 16 of the competition, with Roberto Di Matteo’s side stuck on four points following defeat to Shaktar Donetsk in midweek.
With a tricky trip to Juventus still to come, the Stamford Bridge side still have plenty of work to do before contemplating lifting the trophy once again.