The UEFA Champions League always throws up some brilliant fixtures, especially in the elimination stages, and once again this season it has not let football fans down.

Besides the much discussed Real Madrid vs Manchester United tie, AC Milan vs Barcelona is just as appealing to the footballing world.

With Barcelona in superb form domestically, their Champions League form has followed a similar course.  Despite a surprise result against Celtic in the group stages, Barca topped their group as many expected. Messi and Co have a lot to be confident about at present, with a healthy lead in La Liga and main rivals Real Madrid in an unusal 3rd position behind their city rivals Atletico.  

And with Messi still in phenomenal scoring form which now reads 48 goals in all competions, it seems there is little that can distract Barcelona from taking back their La Liga crown.

AC Milan have not fared so well domestically. A poor start to their Serie A campagin means that, despite some recent good results and losing once in 13 matches, they still lie 3rd in the table and 11 points adrift of leaders Juventus.

The signing of Mario Balotelli from Manchester City in the January transfer window has rejuvinated the Rossoneri domestically, but he is ineligible to face Tito Vilanova's side - and having scored 4 goals since returning to his home country, Milan would have loved to have him at their disposal for this challenging last 16 clash.  

But even without Balotelli, Milan still have plenty of attacking threat with Stephan El-Shaarawy on good scoring form, and former Barca youngster Bojan Krkic is also available to manager Massimilliano Allegri.  

Despite that, Allegri can count himself lucky to be managing Milan still following their dismal start to Seire A this term.

In the four games between the two European giants last season, Milan failed to beat the Catalan side, who went on to claim two victories and two draws over the Rossoneri. But even with the recent results in their favour, Barca will be all to aware of what Milan are capable of.  They have won the top prize in Europe seven times and only Madrid top that with nine to their name.  Barcelona may only have it 4 times, but have done more recently that Milan, who last lifted the trophy in 2007.

But as football shows so many times, anything can happen.  And with the huge past between these two massive clubs, there is no doubt that this is the just as mouth watering  a tie as Madrid vs United.


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