Brendan Rodgers could be forgiven for thinking about nothing other than Barcelona as he prepares his Celtic team to face the Spanish giants on Tuesday evening.
The Northern Irishman has his work cut out to salvage even a point from the Hoops’ first Champions League outing of the season against one of the finest clubs in world football.
Often praised for his willingness to play an attractive style of football, Rodgers will need his Celtic players to remain defensively sound throughout the 90 minutes if they are to sneak a result in Spain.
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Despite having never graced the Nou Camp touchline as a manager, the former Liverpool boss is quite familiar with the workings of the famous club.
Rodgers has visited the Catalan capital on numerous occasions to watch their youth teams, namely with his eye on one La Masia starlet whom he had attempted to lure to Anfield.
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“I’ve been coming for a number of years. I’ve always been a great lover of Barcelona and the structure of the club,” he said, as per Sport English.
"The time I think Luis is referring to, I travelled out with my son, he was coming out for his 13th birthday. He is now 23!
“Nolito was playing in the youth team, [Jonathan] Soriano, the midfielder who signed for Bayern [Thiago Alcantara]. I had hoped to try and get him to sign for Liverpool. It’s understandable he signed for Bayern.
“I’ve watched them over many years and I'm a lover of how the club operates and the values they have.”
Rodgers’ admiration for Barcelona is certainly evident in his tactical approach to football, but it is yet to shine through in his transfer dealings.
Had the Celtic boss snapped up Thiago for Liverpool before he joined Bayern Munich in July 2013, the Spaniard would have been his first and only signing from the La Liga giants to date.
Rodgers will come up against arguably his most talented former player in Luis Suarez when Celtic kick off their European campaign this evening.
Having worked with the Uruguayan at Anfield, the 43-year-old is understandably wary of the threat he poses alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar in attack.
“This is arguably the best team in the world with a front three which is maybe the best of all time,” Rodgers said, as per The Telegraph.
“I know that Luis used to occupy a complete back four on his own, so if you add Messi and Neymar to him, it’s a very difficult task.”
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