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In December, Pep Guardiola dismissed the possibility of Manchester City winning the quadruple this season as "impossible", and this week's events have proven him right. While the Premier League title is as good as wrapped up and only one Sunday's final separates them from a Carabao Cup win, a shock defeat in the FA Cup at Wigan put to bed any remaining possibility of glory on four fronts. The treble has been achieved by United, and City could still win a treble of their own this season, but the quadruple remains an impossible dream, never realised and possibly never to be achieved. Here, we remember the teams that came closest to winning all four competitions, with a look at where - and when - their quadruple bid ended. Leeds United - 1969/70 The ultimate 'nearly' season. Don Revie's great side came desperately close to winning three of four available trophies, finishing as Division One runners-up (albeit by a nine-point margin) to Everton, losing FA Cup finalists (they were beaten by Chelsea in a replay in a famous bad-tempered encounter) and being beaten in the European Cup semi-finals by Celtic. A great team that ended the season empty-handed Credit: Getty images Nottingham Forest, 1978/79 Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest won two of the four trophies on offer in the 1978-79 season, and were fighting on four fronts until the end of February, when they were beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round. They went on to lift the European Cup for the first time in the club's history in 1979 - they would win it again the following year - but were pipped to the First Division title by Liverpool. Liverpool, 1983/84 Joe Fagan's first season in charge of Liverpool saw them become the first English club to record a treble after winning the First Division, European Cup and League Cup. Ian Rush led the way with 32 goals, but hopes of a quadruple had been derailed at the end of January after a 2-0 loss away at Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round. Liverpool won a treble but could not add the FA Cup Credit: Getty images Manchester United, 1998/99 After finishing the previous season trophyless, Manchester United made amends by pipping Arsenal to the Premier League title, lifting the FA Cup and famously defeating Bayern Munich in injury time to win the European Cup, all in the space of 11 days in May. However, their quadruple hopes had been scuppered reasonably early - courtesy of a defeat in the League Cup quarter-finals to Tottenham. Manchester United, 2002/03 United harboured hopes of four major honours until a disastrous four-week spell ended their hopes in three of them: they were beaten in the FA Cup fifth round by Arsenal, the League Cup final by Liverpool and in the Champions League by Real Madrid. Their 'consolation' was winning the Premier League title by five points from Arsenal, who had led for most of the campaign until a late-season collapse. Quadruple nearly men Arsenal, 2003/04 Arsene Wenger's side may have been invincible in the league but they fell just short in the other major competitions. Their quadruple challenge was ended in the League Cup semi-finals by Middlesbrough on Feb 5, while they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Champions League by Chelsea. Chelsea, 2006/07 The nearest any English club has come to a quadruple, with Jose Mourinho's side having genuine hopes of succcess in all four competitions until May 1, when they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals. A run of draws then demolished their hopes of a third straight league title, although they did win a League Cup and FA Cup double, with Didier Drogba ending the season with 33 goals. Chelsea came painfully close to winning all four competitions Credit: getty images Manchester United, 2008/09 Unitedwon the Premier League for the third consecutive year and beat Tottenham on penalties to add the League Cup to their trophy cabinet. Though they lost to Everton by the same means in the FA Cup semi-final and lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League Final, denying them a quadruple. Manchester City, 2013/14 City looked ominously strong under Manuel Pellegrini, keeping pace at the top of the Premier League and winning the League Cup final in early March. But Barcelona ultimately quashed their hopes with a dominant performance in the Champions League last 16 tie, while Wigan - yes, them again - sent them crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Why the quadruple remains English football's impossible dream
In December, Pep Guardiola dismissed the possibility of Manchester City winning the quadruple this season as "impossible", and this week's events have proven him right. While the Premier League title is as good as wrapped up and only one Sunday's final separates them from a Carabao Cup win, a shock defeat in the FA Cup at Wigan put to bed any remaining possibility of glory on four fronts. The treble has been achieved by United, and City could still win a treble of their own this season, but the quadruple remains an impossible dream, never realised and possibly never to be achieved. Here, we remember the teams that came closest to winning all four competitions, with a look at where - and when - their quadruple bid ended. Leeds United - 1969/70 The ultimate 'nearly' season. Don Revie's great side came desperately close to winning three of four available trophies, finishing as Division One runners-up (albeit by a nine-point margin) to Everton, losing FA Cup finalists (they were beaten by Chelsea in a replay in a famous bad-tempered encounter) and being beaten in the European Cup semi-finals by Celtic. A great team that ended the season empty-handed Credit: Getty images Nottingham Forest, 1978/79 Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest won two of the four trophies on offer in the 1978-79 season, and were fighting on four fronts until the end of February, when they were beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round. They went on to lift the European Cup for the first time in the club's history in 1979 - they would win it again the following year - but were pipped to the First Division title by Liverpool. Liverpool, 1983/84 Joe Fagan's first season in charge of Liverpool saw them become the first English club to record a treble after winning the First Division, European Cup and League Cup. Ian Rush led the way with 32 goals, but hopes of a quadruple had been derailed at the end of January after a 2-0 loss away at Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round. Liverpool won a treble but could not add the FA Cup Credit: Getty images Manchester United, 1998/99 After finishing the previous season trophyless, Manchester United made amends by pipping Arsenal to the Premier League title, lifting the FA Cup and famously defeating Bayern Munich in injury time to win the European Cup, all in the space of 11 days in May. However, their quadruple hopes had been scuppered reasonably early - courtesy of a defeat in the League Cup quarter-finals to Tottenham. Manchester United, 2002/03 United harboured hopes of four major honours until a disastrous four-week spell ended their hopes in three of them: they were beaten in the FA Cup fifth round by Arsenal, the League Cup final by Liverpool and in the Champions League by Real Madrid. Their 'consolation' was winning the Premier League title by five points from Arsenal, who had led for most of the campaign until a late-season collapse. Quadruple nearly men Arsenal, 2003/04 Arsene Wenger's side may have been invincible in the league but they fell just short in the other major competitions. Their quadruple challenge was ended in the League Cup semi-finals by Middlesbrough on Feb 5, while they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Champions League by Chelsea. Chelsea, 2006/07 The nearest any English club has come to a quadruple, with Jose Mourinho's side having genuine hopes of succcess in all four competitions until May 1, when they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals. A run of draws then demolished their hopes of a third straight league title, although they did win a League Cup and FA Cup double, with Didier Drogba ending the season with 33 goals. Chelsea came painfully close to winning all four competitions Credit: getty images Manchester United, 2008/09 Unitedwon the Premier League for the third consecutive year and beat Tottenham on penalties to add the League Cup to their trophy cabinet. Though they lost to Everton by the same means in the FA Cup semi-final and lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League Final, denying them a quadruple. Manchester City, 2013/14 City looked ominously strong under Manuel Pellegrini, keeping pace at the top of the Premier League and winning the League Cup final in early March. But Barcelona ultimately quashed their hopes with a dominant performance in the Champions League last 16 tie, while Wigan - yes, them again - sent them crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals.
In December, Pep Guardiola dismissed the possibility of Manchester City winning the quadruple this season as "impossible", and this week's events have proven him right. While the Premier League title is as good as wrapped up and only one Sunday's final separates them from a Carabao Cup win, a shock defeat in the FA Cup at Wigan put to bed any remaining possibility of glory on four fronts. The treble has been achieved by United, and City could still win a treble of their own this season, but the quadruple remains an impossible dream, never realised and possibly never to be achieved. Here, we remember the teams that came closest to winning all four competitions, with a look at where - and when - their quadruple bid ended. Leeds United - 1969/70 The ultimate 'nearly' season. Don Revie's great side came desperately close to winning three of four available trophies, finishing as Division One runners-up (albeit by a nine-point margin) to Everton, losing FA Cup finalists (they were beaten by Chelsea in a replay in a famous bad-tempered encounter) and being beaten in the European Cup semi-finals by Celtic. A great team that ended the season empty-handed Credit: Getty images Nottingham Forest, 1978/79 Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest won two of the four trophies on offer in the 1978-79 season, and were fighting on four fronts until the end of February, when they were beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round. They went on to lift the European Cup for the first time in the club's history in 1979 - they would win it again the following year - but were pipped to the First Division title by Liverpool. Liverpool, 1983/84 Joe Fagan's first season in charge of Liverpool saw them become the first English club to record a treble after winning the First Division, European Cup and League Cup. Ian Rush led the way with 32 goals, but hopes of a quadruple had been derailed at the end of January after a 2-0 loss away at Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round. Liverpool won a treble but could not add the FA Cup Credit: Getty images Manchester United, 1998/99 After finishing the previous season trophyless, Manchester United made amends by pipping Arsenal to the Premier League title, lifting the FA Cup and famously defeating Bayern Munich in injury time to win the European Cup, all in the space of 11 days in May. However, their quadruple hopes had been scuppered reasonably early - courtesy of a defeat in the League Cup quarter-finals to Tottenham. Manchester United, 2002/03 United harboured hopes of four major honours until a disastrous four-week spell ended their hopes in three of them: they were beaten in the FA Cup fifth round by Arsenal, the League Cup final by Liverpool and in the Champions League by Real Madrid. Their 'consolation' was winning the Premier League title by five points from Arsenal, who had led for most of the campaign until a late-season collapse. Quadruple nearly men Arsenal, 2003/04 Arsene Wenger's side may have been invincible in the league but they fell just short in the other major competitions. Their quadruple challenge was ended in the League Cup semi-finals by Middlesbrough on Feb 5, while they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Champions League by Chelsea. Chelsea, 2006/07 The nearest any English club has come to a quadruple, with Jose Mourinho's side having genuine hopes of succcess in all four competitions until May 1, when they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals. A run of draws then demolished their hopes of a third straight league title, although they did win a League Cup and FA Cup double, with Didier Drogba ending the season with 33 goals. Chelsea came painfully close to winning all four competitions Credit: getty images Manchester United, 2008/09 Unitedwon the Premier League for the third consecutive year and beat Tottenham on penalties to add the League Cup to their trophy cabinet. Though they lost to Everton by the same means in the FA Cup semi-final and lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League Final, denying them a quadruple. Manchester City, 2013/14 City looked ominously strong under Manuel Pellegrini, keeping pace at the top of the Premier League and winning the League Cup final in early March. But Barcelona ultimately quashed their hopes with a dominant performance in the Champions League last 16 tie, while Wigan - yes, them again - sent them crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Why the quadruple remains English football's impossible dream
In December, Pep Guardiola dismissed the possibility of Manchester City winning the quadruple this season as "impossible", and this week's events have proven him right. While the Premier League title is as good as wrapped up and only one Sunday's final separates them from a Carabao Cup win, a shock defeat in the FA Cup at Wigan put to bed any remaining possibility of glory on four fronts. The treble has been achieved by United, and City could still win a treble of their own this season, but the quadruple remains an impossible dream, never realised and possibly never to be achieved. Here, we remember the teams that came closest to winning all four competitions, with a look at where - and when - their quadruple bid ended. Leeds United - 1969/70 The ultimate 'nearly' season. Don Revie's great side came desperately close to winning three of four available trophies, finishing as Division One runners-up (albeit by a nine-point margin) to Everton, losing FA Cup finalists (they were beaten by Chelsea in a replay in a famous bad-tempered encounter) and being beaten in the European Cup semi-finals by Celtic. A great team that ended the season empty-handed Credit: Getty images Nottingham Forest, 1978/79 Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest won two of the four trophies on offer in the 1978-79 season, and were fighting on four fronts until the end of February, when they were beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round. They went on to lift the European Cup for the first time in the club's history in 1979 - they would win it again the following year - but were pipped to the First Division title by Liverpool. Liverpool, 1983/84 Joe Fagan's first season in charge of Liverpool saw them become the first English club to record a treble after winning the First Division, European Cup and League Cup. Ian Rush led the way with 32 goals, but hopes of a quadruple had been derailed at the end of January after a 2-0 loss away at Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round. Liverpool won a treble but could not add the FA Cup Credit: Getty images Manchester United, 1998/99 After finishing the previous season trophyless, Manchester United made amends by pipping Arsenal to the Premier League title, lifting the FA Cup and famously defeating Bayern Munich in injury time to win the European Cup, all in the space of 11 days in May. However, their quadruple hopes had been scuppered reasonably early - courtesy of a defeat in the League Cup quarter-finals to Tottenham. Manchester United, 2002/03 United harboured hopes of four major honours until a disastrous four-week spell ended their hopes in three of them: they were beaten in the FA Cup fifth round by Arsenal, the League Cup final by Liverpool and in the Champions League by Real Madrid. Their 'consolation' was winning the Premier League title by five points from Arsenal, who had led for most of the campaign until a late-season collapse. Quadruple nearly men Arsenal, 2003/04 Arsene Wenger's side may have been invincible in the league but they fell just short in the other major competitions. Their quadruple challenge was ended in the League Cup semi-finals by Middlesbrough on Feb 5, while they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Champions League by Chelsea. Chelsea, 2006/07 The nearest any English club has come to a quadruple, with Jose Mourinho's side having genuine hopes of succcess in all four competitions until May 1, when they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals. A run of draws then demolished their hopes of a third straight league title, although they did win a League Cup and FA Cup double, with Didier Drogba ending the season with 33 goals. Chelsea came painfully close to winning all four competitions Credit: getty images Manchester United, 2008/09 Unitedwon the Premier League for the third consecutive year and beat Tottenham on penalties to add the League Cup to their trophy cabinet. Though they lost to Everton by the same means in the FA Cup semi-final and lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League Final, denying them a quadruple. Manchester City, 2013/14 City looked ominously strong under Manuel Pellegrini, keeping pace at the top of the Premier League and winning the League Cup final in early March. But Barcelona ultimately quashed their hopes with a dominant performance in the Champions League last 16 tie, while Wigan - yes, them again - sent them crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals.
In December, Pep Guardiola dismissed the possibility of Manchester City winning the quadruple this season as "impossible", and this week's events have proven him right. While the Premier League title is as good as wrapped up and only one Sunday's final separates them from a Carabao Cup win, a shock defeat in the FA Cup at Wigan put to bed any remaining possibility of glory on four fronts. The treble has been achieved by United, and City could still win a treble of their own this season, but the quadruple remains an impossible dream, never realised and possibly never to be achieved. Here, we remember the teams that came closest to winning all four competitions, with a look at where - and when - their quadruple bid ended. Leeds United - 1969/70 The ultimate 'nearly' season. Don Revie's great side came desperately close to winning three of four available trophies, finishing as Division One runners-up (albeit by a nine-point margin) to Everton, losing FA Cup finalists (they were beaten by Chelsea in a replay in a famous bad-tempered encounter) and being beaten in the European Cup semi-finals by Celtic. A great team that ended the season empty-handed Credit: Getty images Nottingham Forest, 1978/79 Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest won two of the four trophies on offer in the 1978-79 season, and were fighting on four fronts until the end of February, when they were beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round. They went on to lift the European Cup for the first time in the club's history in 1979 - they would win it again the following year - but were pipped to the First Division title by Liverpool. Liverpool, 1983/84 Joe Fagan's first season in charge of Liverpool saw them become the first English club to record a treble after winning the First Division, European Cup and League Cup. Ian Rush led the way with 32 goals, but hopes of a quadruple had been derailed at the end of January after a 2-0 loss away at Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round. Liverpool won a treble but could not add the FA Cup Credit: Getty images Manchester United, 1998/99 After finishing the previous season trophyless, Manchester United made amends by pipping Arsenal to the Premier League title, lifting the FA Cup and famously defeating Bayern Munich in injury time to win the European Cup, all in the space of 11 days in May. However, their quadruple hopes had been scuppered reasonably early - courtesy of a defeat in the League Cup quarter-finals to Tottenham. Manchester United, 2002/03 United harboured hopes of four major honours until a disastrous four-week spell ended their hopes in three of them: they were beaten in the FA Cup fifth round by Arsenal, the League Cup final by Liverpool and in the Champions League by Real Madrid. Their 'consolation' was winning the Premier League title by five points from Arsenal, who had led for most of the campaign until a late-season collapse. Quadruple nearly men Arsenal, 2003/04 Arsene Wenger's side may have been invincible in the league but they fell just short in the other major competitions. Their quadruple challenge was ended in the League Cup semi-finals by Middlesbrough on Feb 5, while they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Champions League by Chelsea. Chelsea, 2006/07 The nearest any English club has come to a quadruple, with Jose Mourinho's side having genuine hopes of succcess in all four competitions until May 1, when they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals. A run of draws then demolished their hopes of a third straight league title, although they did win a League Cup and FA Cup double, with Didier Drogba ending the season with 33 goals. Chelsea came painfully close to winning all four competitions Credit: getty images Manchester United, 2008/09 Unitedwon the Premier League for the third consecutive year and beat Tottenham on penalties to add the League Cup to their trophy cabinet. Though they lost to Everton by the same means in the FA Cup semi-final and lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League Final, denying them a quadruple. Manchester City, 2013/14 City looked ominously strong under Manuel Pellegrini, keeping pace at the top of the Premier League and winning the League Cup final in early March. But Barcelona ultimately quashed their hopes with a dominant performance in the Champions League last 16 tie, while Wigan - yes, them again - sent them crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Why the quadruple remains English football's impossible dream
In December, Pep Guardiola dismissed the possibility of Manchester City winning the quadruple this season as "impossible", and this week's events have proven him right. While the Premier League title is as good as wrapped up and only one Sunday's final separates them from a Carabao Cup win, a shock defeat in the FA Cup at Wigan put to bed any remaining possibility of glory on four fronts. The treble has been achieved by United, and City could still win a treble of their own this season, but the quadruple remains an impossible dream, never realised and possibly never to be achieved. Here, we remember the teams that came closest to winning all four competitions, with a look at where - and when - their quadruple bid ended. Leeds United - 1969/70 The ultimate 'nearly' season. Don Revie's great side came desperately close to winning three of four available trophies, finishing as Division One runners-up (albeit by a nine-point margin) to Everton, losing FA Cup finalists (they were beaten by Chelsea in a replay in a famous bad-tempered encounter) and being beaten in the European Cup semi-finals by Celtic. A great team that ended the season empty-handed Credit: Getty images Nottingham Forest, 1978/79 Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest won two of the four trophies on offer in the 1978-79 season, and were fighting on four fronts until the end of February, when they were beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round. They went on to lift the European Cup for the first time in the club's history in 1979 - they would win it again the following year - but were pipped to the First Division title by Liverpool. Liverpool, 1983/84 Joe Fagan's first season in charge of Liverpool saw them become the first English club to record a treble after winning the First Division, European Cup and League Cup. Ian Rush led the way with 32 goals, but hopes of a quadruple had been derailed at the end of January after a 2-0 loss away at Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round. Liverpool won a treble but could not add the FA Cup Credit: Getty images Manchester United, 1998/99 After finishing the previous season trophyless, Manchester United made amends by pipping Arsenal to the Premier League title, lifting the FA Cup and famously defeating Bayern Munich in injury time to win the European Cup, all in the space of 11 days in May. However, their quadruple hopes had been scuppered reasonably early - courtesy of a defeat in the League Cup quarter-finals to Tottenham. Manchester United, 2002/03 United harboured hopes of four major honours until a disastrous four-week spell ended their hopes in three of them: they were beaten in the FA Cup fifth round by Arsenal, the League Cup final by Liverpool and in the Champions League by Real Madrid. Their 'consolation' was winning the Premier League title by five points from Arsenal, who had led for most of the campaign until a late-season collapse. Quadruple nearly men Arsenal, 2003/04 Arsene Wenger's side may have been invincible in the league but they fell just short in the other major competitions. Their quadruple challenge was ended in the League Cup semi-finals by Middlesbrough on Feb 5, while they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Champions League by Chelsea. Chelsea, 2006/07 The nearest any English club has come to a quadruple, with Jose Mourinho's side having genuine hopes of succcess in all four competitions until May 1, when they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals. A run of draws then demolished their hopes of a third straight league title, although they did win a League Cup and FA Cup double, with Didier Drogba ending the season with 33 goals. Chelsea came painfully close to winning all four competitions Credit: getty images Manchester United, 2008/09 Unitedwon the Premier League for the third consecutive year and beat Tottenham on penalties to add the League Cup to their trophy cabinet. Though they lost to Everton by the same means in the FA Cup semi-final and lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League Final, denying them a quadruple. Manchester City, 2013/14 City looked ominously strong under Manuel Pellegrini, keeping pace at the top of the Premier League and winning the League Cup final in early March. But Barcelona ultimately quashed their hopes with a dominant performance in the Champions League last 16 tie, while Wigan - yes, them again - sent them crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals.
In December, Pep Guardiola dismissed the possibility of Manchester City winning the quadruple this season as "impossible", and this week's events have proven him right. While the Premier League title is as good as wrapped up and only one Sunday's final separates them from a Carabao Cup win, a shock defeat in the FA Cup at Wigan put to bed any remaining possibility of glory on four fronts. The treble has been achieved by United, and City could still win a treble of their own this season, but the quadruple remains an impossible dream, never realised and possibly never to be achieved. Here, we remember the teams that came closest to winning all four competitions, with a look at where - and when - their quadruple bid ended. Leeds United - 1969/70 The ultimate 'nearly' season. Don Revie's great side came desperately close to winning three of four available trophies, finishing as Division One runners-up (albeit by a nine-point margin) to Everton, losing FA Cup finalists (they were beaten by Chelsea in a replay in a famous bad-tempered encounter) and being beaten in the European Cup semi-finals by Celtic. A great team that ended the season empty-handed Credit: Getty images Nottingham Forest, 1978/79 Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest won two of the four trophies on offer in the 1978-79 season, and were fighting on four fronts until the end of February, when they were beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round. They went on to lift the European Cup for the first time in the club's history in 1979 - they would win it again the following year - but were pipped to the First Division title by Liverpool. Liverpool, 1983/84 Joe Fagan's first season in charge of Liverpool saw them become the first English club to record a treble after winning the First Division, European Cup and League Cup. Ian Rush led the way with 32 goals, but hopes of a quadruple had been derailed at the end of January after a 2-0 loss away at Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round. Liverpool won a treble but could not add the FA Cup Credit: Getty images Manchester United, 1998/99 After finishing the previous season trophyless, Manchester United made amends by pipping Arsenal to the Premier League title, lifting the FA Cup and famously defeating Bayern Munich in injury time to win the European Cup, all in the space of 11 days in May. However, their quadruple hopes had been scuppered reasonably early - courtesy of a defeat in the League Cup quarter-finals to Tottenham. Manchester United, 2002/03 United harboured hopes of four major honours until a disastrous four-week spell ended their hopes in three of them: they were beaten in the FA Cup fifth round by Arsenal, the League Cup final by Liverpool and in the Champions League by Real Madrid. Their 'consolation' was winning the Premier League title by five points from Arsenal, who had led for most of the campaign until a late-season collapse. Quadruple nearly men Arsenal, 2003/04 Arsene Wenger's side may have been invincible in the league but they fell just short in the other major competitions. Their quadruple challenge was ended in the League Cup semi-finals by Middlesbrough on Feb 5, while they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Champions League by Chelsea. Chelsea, 2006/07 The nearest any English club has come to a quadruple, with Jose Mourinho's side having genuine hopes of succcess in all four competitions until May 1, when they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals. A run of draws then demolished their hopes of a third straight league title, although they did win a League Cup and FA Cup double, with Didier Drogba ending the season with 33 goals. Chelsea came painfully close to winning all four competitions Credit: getty images Manchester United, 2008/09 Unitedwon the Premier League for the third consecutive year and beat Tottenham on penalties to add the League Cup to their trophy cabinet. Though they lost to Everton by the same means in the FA Cup semi-final and lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League Final, denying them a quadruple. Manchester City, 2013/14 City looked ominously strong under Manuel Pellegrini, keeping pace at the top of the Premier League and winning the League Cup final in early March. But Barcelona ultimately quashed their hopes with a dominant performance in the Champions League last 16 tie, while Wigan - yes, them again - sent them crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Why the quadruple remains English football's impossible dream
In December, Pep Guardiola dismissed the possibility of Manchester City winning the quadruple this season as "impossible", and this week's events have proven him right. While the Premier League title is as good as wrapped up and only one Sunday's final separates them from a Carabao Cup win, a shock defeat in the FA Cup at Wigan put to bed any remaining possibility of glory on four fronts. The treble has been achieved by United, and City could still win a treble of their own this season, but the quadruple remains an impossible dream, never realised and possibly never to be achieved. Here, we remember the teams that came closest to winning all four competitions, with a look at where - and when - their quadruple bid ended. Leeds United - 1969/70 The ultimate 'nearly' season. Don Revie's great side came desperately close to winning three of four available trophies, finishing as Division One runners-up (albeit by a nine-point margin) to Everton, losing FA Cup finalists (they were beaten by Chelsea in a replay in a famous bad-tempered encounter) and being beaten in the European Cup semi-finals by Celtic. A great team that ended the season empty-handed Credit: Getty images Nottingham Forest, 1978/79 Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest won two of the four trophies on offer in the 1978-79 season, and were fighting on four fronts until the end of February, when they were beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round. They went on to lift the European Cup for the first time in the club's history in 1979 - they would win it again the following year - but were pipped to the First Division title by Liverpool. Liverpool, 1983/84 Joe Fagan's first season in charge of Liverpool saw them become the first English club to record a treble after winning the First Division, European Cup and League Cup. Ian Rush led the way with 32 goals, but hopes of a quadruple had been derailed at the end of January after a 2-0 loss away at Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round. Liverpool won a treble but could not add the FA Cup Credit: Getty images Manchester United, 1998/99 After finishing the previous season trophyless, Manchester United made amends by pipping Arsenal to the Premier League title, lifting the FA Cup and famously defeating Bayern Munich in injury time to win the European Cup, all in the space of 11 days in May. However, their quadruple hopes had been scuppered reasonably early - courtesy of a defeat in the League Cup quarter-finals to Tottenham. Manchester United, 2002/03 United harboured hopes of four major honours until a disastrous four-week spell ended their hopes in three of them: they were beaten in the FA Cup fifth round by Arsenal, the League Cup final by Liverpool and in the Champions League by Real Madrid. Their 'consolation' was winning the Premier League title by five points from Arsenal, who had led for most of the campaign until a late-season collapse. Quadruple nearly men Arsenal, 2003/04 Arsene Wenger's side may have been invincible in the league but they fell just short in the other major competitions. Their quadruple challenge was ended in the League Cup semi-finals by Middlesbrough on Feb 5, while they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Champions League by Chelsea. Chelsea, 2006/07 The nearest any English club has come to a quadruple, with Jose Mourinho's side having genuine hopes of succcess in all four competitions until May 1, when they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals. A run of draws then demolished their hopes of a third straight league title, although they did win a League Cup and FA Cup double, with Didier Drogba ending the season with 33 goals. Chelsea came painfully close to winning all four competitions Credit: getty images Manchester United, 2008/09 Unitedwon the Premier League for the third consecutive year and beat Tottenham on penalties to add the League Cup to their trophy cabinet. Though they lost to Everton by the same means in the FA Cup semi-final and lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League Final, denying them a quadruple. Manchester City, 2013/14 City looked ominously strong under Manuel Pellegrini, keeping pace at the top of the Premier League and winning the League Cup final in early March. But Barcelona ultimately quashed their hopes with a dominant performance in the Champions League last 16 tie, while Wigan - yes, them again - sent them crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals.
​Robert Lewandowski has revealed why he was 'sorry' to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang trade football in the Bundesliga for the Premier League in January. The Bayern Munich superstar spoke to German newspaper Kicker (h/t ​Mundo Deportivo) ahead of his side's Champions League last-16 first leg showdown with Besiktas, and offered his opinion on Aubameyang's switch to Arsenal last month. The Gabon striker departed Borussia Dortmund for the Emirates in a £56m deal, and Lewandowski admitted that his...
Bayern Ace Lewandowski Explains Why He Was 'Sorry' to See Aubameyang Leave Dortmund
​Robert Lewandowski has revealed why he was 'sorry' to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang trade football in the Bundesliga for the Premier League in January. The Bayern Munich superstar spoke to German newspaper Kicker (h/t ​Mundo Deportivo) ahead of his side's Champions League last-16 first leg showdown with Besiktas, and offered his opinion on Aubameyang's switch to Arsenal last month. The Gabon striker departed Borussia Dortmund for the Emirates in a £56m deal, and Lewandowski admitted that his...
​Robert Lewandowski has revealed why he was 'sorry' to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang trade football in the Bundesliga for the Premier League in January. The Bayern Munich superstar spoke to German newspaper Kicker (h/t ​Mundo Deportivo) ahead of his side's Champions League last-16 first leg showdown with Besiktas, and offered his opinion on Aubameyang's switch to Arsenal last month. The Gabon striker departed Borussia Dortmund for the Emirates in a £56m deal, and Lewandowski admitted that his...
Bayern Ace Lewandowski Explains Why He Was 'Sorry' to See Aubameyang Leave Dortmund
​Robert Lewandowski has revealed why he was 'sorry' to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang trade football in the Bundesliga for the Premier League in January. The Bayern Munich superstar spoke to German newspaper Kicker (h/t ​Mundo Deportivo) ahead of his side's Champions League last-16 first leg showdown with Besiktas, and offered his opinion on Aubameyang's switch to Arsenal last month. The Gabon striker departed Borussia Dortmund for the Emirates in a £56m deal, and Lewandowski admitted that his...
​Robert Lewandowski has revealed why he was 'sorry' to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang trade football in the Bundesliga for the Premier League in January. The Bayern Munich superstar spoke to German newspaper Kicker (h/t ​Mundo Deportivo) ahead of his side's Champions League last-16 first leg showdown with Besiktas, and offered his opinion on Aubameyang's switch to Arsenal last month. The Gabon striker departed Borussia Dortmund for the Emirates in a £56m deal, and Lewandowski admitted that his...
Bayern Ace Lewandowski Explains Why He Was 'Sorry' to See Aubameyang Leave Dortmund
​Robert Lewandowski has revealed why he was 'sorry' to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang trade football in the Bundesliga for the Premier League in January. The Bayern Munich superstar spoke to German newspaper Kicker (h/t ​Mundo Deportivo) ahead of his side's Champions League last-16 first leg showdown with Besiktas, and offered his opinion on Aubameyang's switch to Arsenal last month. The Gabon striker departed Borussia Dortmund for the Emirates in a £56m deal, and Lewandowski admitted that his...
Sven Ulreich is the ordinary bloke in Bayern Munich's goal making extraordinary saves
Sven Ulreich is the ordinary bloke in Bayern Munich's goal making extraordinary saves
Sven Ulreich is the ordinary bloke in Bayern Munich's goal making extraordinary saves
Sven Ulreich is the ordinary bloke in Bayern Munich's goal making extraordinary saves
Sven Ulreich is the ordinary bloke in Bayern Munich's goal making extraordinary saves
Sven Ulreich is the ordinary bloke in Bayern Munich's goal making extraordinary saves
Sven Ulreich is the ordinary bloke in Bayern Munich's goal making extraordinary saves
Sven Ulreich is the ordinary bloke in Bayern Munich's goal making extraordinary saves
Sven Ulreich is the ordinary bloke in Bayern Munich's goal making extraordinary saves
Pedro Rodriguez knows better than most that Chelsea do not face Mission Impossible in their last-16 Champions League clash against Barcelona and Lionel Messi, thanks to one of the most painful memories of his distinguished career. Chelsea have largely been written off ahead of the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, but, perhaps significantly, Pedro does not consider the tie to be a lost cause. Despite winning the Champions League on three different occasions and five La Liga titles during seven years as a first-team player at Barcelona, the 2012 semi-final defeat to Chelsea remains a tough one to take for Pedro – even though he moved to Stamford Bridge almost three years ago. A stoppage time goal from Fernando Torres in the Nou Camp secured Chelsea’s progression into the final, in which they beat Bayern Munich to lift the trophy for the first and, so far, only time. “This memory stays with me even now, a very sad day for me and my team-mates,” said Pedro. “I remember a lot of things: when you control the game and score the first goal, but then Leo (Messi) missed a penalty and then Fernando scored with the game's last touch to finish the tie... I remember it all because it was such a sad day for Barcelona and for all of us. “I remember these games so well. Chelsea were always horrible opponents, very difficult in these games: compact, strong in defence, pressed very well. For that reason, we always found it difficult against them. For the players of Barcelona, they'll be thinking this tie is going to be very tough, this game for them, because Chelsea are strong. Chelsea are compact, and it's never easy to play against us.” Just as Pedro was part of the Barcelona squad six years ago, captain Gary Cahill and David Luiz were Chelsea players when the Blues knocked out the Spaniards, and Pedro believes the current squad can use that semi-final success as inspiration this time around. “The reality is it's not impossible for us,” he said. “It's possible for us to beat Barcelona and go through into the next round. It's difficult because they're a very great, big team, but it's not impossible.” Asked if there is any reason for Chelsea to be fearful of Barcelona, Pedro added: “No, not at all. If you start with fear, then that hands it to Barcelona.” Messi will arrive in London still looking for his first goal against Chelsea and Pedro has reminded his team-mates that, although he rates the Argentine as the best player in the history of the game, Barcelona’s star man can be stopped. “He's the best player in the world, but he's not invincible,” said Pedro. “It's probably a hard game for us, a massive game, but if the team are really focused on fighting together, you never know in football. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “We'll have possibilities to get through. But, obviously, it's Barcelona. It's Leo Messi. It's very difficult to stop this guy because he's very quick, very clever out on the pitch. But, look, it's not impossible.” Having been a team-mate of Messi for so long, Pedro tried to describe what it is like to train and play with him, and the likes of Andres Iniesta, on a daily basis. “Always you look and try and take on his (Messi’s) movement and his skills,” said Pedro. “But he's on another level. It's very difficult to copy him and pick up how he moves. Leo Messi races away from Francis Coquelin Credit: Action Plus “For him, it's instinctive and he's unique in the world. No one can do what he does. For this reason, to have played with him is special. Special for me, and something to tell my sons in the future because, probably, he'll be considered the best in history. “Leo Messi is the best player in the world for me, but look at the others that have been at Barcelona... Andres, Xavi and all the others, [Thierry] Henry, Ronaldinho, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Samuel] Eto'o... so many of them. Then there are the likes of [Carlos] Puyol, [Eric] Abidal... the list goes on. “I was lucky enough to play with them all, such good players, and stayed more years with them. I learned so much from them as team-mates. It was a great honour for me to be there with them, and such a big part of my development as a player from a young age, playing with this type of player.” Pedro came through with a golden group of Barcelona youngsters Credit: AFP Pedro won 20 major honours in total with Barcelona and can be forgiven for the odd slip of the tongue, as he occasionally still describes the La Liga leaders as “us”. But the 30-year-old insists he will not have any split loyalties over the two-legged last-16 tie. “It was an incredible time with a special team,” said Pedro. “They're one of the biggest teams in the world. It's easier to win titles there, probably, than over here because they have very good players like Leo Messi and others, the best players in the world. For this reason, I'm very happy to have played my part and to have won those titles with them. “Now it's different. Now I am here, at Chelsea, and defend the badge on this shirt, the Chelsea shirt, with great honour and pride. I hope to win this game and go through in this tie.” And while much of the pre-game attention will centre around how Antonio Conte’s team can stop Messi and Co, Pedro believes Chelsea have matchwinners of their own. “It’s a good opportunity for us, a good game to how our qualities and what we can do,” said Pedro. “The players here, Eden (Hazard) or (Alvaro) Morata or Willy (Willian), are quick players and will be a danger on the counter-attack. They are motivated. That will give us opportunities to score, for sure.”
Pedro interview: Lionel Messi is best ever but not invincible - Chelsea can beat Barcelona just like in 2012
Pedro Rodriguez knows better than most that Chelsea do not face Mission Impossible in their last-16 Champions League clash against Barcelona and Lionel Messi, thanks to one of the most painful memories of his distinguished career. Chelsea have largely been written off ahead of the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, but, perhaps significantly, Pedro does not consider the tie to be a lost cause. Despite winning the Champions League on three different occasions and five La Liga titles during seven years as a first-team player at Barcelona, the 2012 semi-final defeat to Chelsea remains a tough one to take for Pedro – even though he moved to Stamford Bridge almost three years ago. A stoppage time goal from Fernando Torres in the Nou Camp secured Chelsea’s progression into the final, in which they beat Bayern Munich to lift the trophy for the first and, so far, only time. “This memory stays with me even now, a very sad day for me and my team-mates,” said Pedro. “I remember a lot of things: when you control the game and score the first goal, but then Leo (Messi) missed a penalty and then Fernando scored with the game's last touch to finish the tie... I remember it all because it was such a sad day for Barcelona and for all of us. “I remember these games so well. Chelsea were always horrible opponents, very difficult in these games: compact, strong in defence, pressed very well. For that reason, we always found it difficult against them. For the players of Barcelona, they'll be thinking this tie is going to be very tough, this game for them, because Chelsea are strong. Chelsea are compact, and it's never easy to play against us.” Just as Pedro was part of the Barcelona squad six years ago, captain Gary Cahill and David Luiz were Chelsea players when the Blues knocked out the Spaniards, and Pedro believes the current squad can use that semi-final success as inspiration this time around. “The reality is it's not impossible for us,” he said. “It's possible for us to beat Barcelona and go through into the next round. It's difficult because they're a very great, big team, but it's not impossible.” Asked if there is any reason for Chelsea to be fearful of Barcelona, Pedro added: “No, not at all. If you start with fear, then that hands it to Barcelona.” Messi will arrive in London still looking for his first goal against Chelsea and Pedro has reminded his team-mates that, although he rates the Argentine as the best player in the history of the game, Barcelona’s star man can be stopped. “He's the best player in the world, but he's not invincible,” said Pedro. “It's probably a hard game for us, a massive game, but if the team are really focused on fighting together, you never know in football. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “We'll have possibilities to get through. But, obviously, it's Barcelona. It's Leo Messi. It's very difficult to stop this guy because he's very quick, very clever out on the pitch. But, look, it's not impossible.” Having been a team-mate of Messi for so long, Pedro tried to describe what it is like to train and play with him, and the likes of Andres Iniesta, on a daily basis. “Always you look and try and take on his (Messi’s) movement and his skills,” said Pedro. “But he's on another level. It's very difficult to copy him and pick up how he moves. Leo Messi races away from Francis Coquelin Credit: Action Plus “For him, it's instinctive and he's unique in the world. No one can do what he does. For this reason, to have played with him is special. Special for me, and something to tell my sons in the future because, probably, he'll be considered the best in history. “Leo Messi is the best player in the world for me, but look at the others that have been at Barcelona... Andres, Xavi and all the others, [Thierry] Henry, Ronaldinho, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Samuel] Eto'o... so many of them. Then there are the likes of [Carlos] Puyol, [Eric] Abidal... the list goes on. “I was lucky enough to play with them all, such good players, and stayed more years with them. I learned so much from them as team-mates. It was a great honour for me to be there with them, and such a big part of my development as a player from a young age, playing with this type of player.” Pedro came through with a golden group of Barcelona youngsters Credit: AFP Pedro won 20 major honours in total with Barcelona and can be forgiven for the odd slip of the tongue, as he occasionally still describes the La Liga leaders as “us”. But the 30-year-old insists he will not have any split loyalties over the two-legged last-16 tie. “It was an incredible time with a special team,” said Pedro. “They're one of the biggest teams in the world. It's easier to win titles there, probably, than over here because they have very good players like Leo Messi and others, the best players in the world. For this reason, I'm very happy to have played my part and to have won those titles with them. “Now it's different. Now I am here, at Chelsea, and defend the badge on this shirt, the Chelsea shirt, with great honour and pride. I hope to win this game and go through in this tie.” And while much of the pre-game attention will centre around how Antonio Conte’s team can stop Messi and Co, Pedro believes Chelsea have matchwinners of their own. “It’s a good opportunity for us, a good game to how our qualities and what we can do,” said Pedro. “The players here, Eden (Hazard) or (Alvaro) Morata or Willy (Willian), are quick players and will be a danger on the counter-attack. They are motivated. That will give us opportunities to score, for sure.”
Eden Hazard has warned Barcelona that it is his time to shine in the Champions League, as Antonio Conte considers giving the Belgian the responsibility of trying to fire Chelsea towards the quarter-finals. Head coach Conte could start Hazard as a ‘false nine’ at Stamford Bridge for Tuesday night’s last-16 first-leg clash, ahead of Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, who are still short of full match fitness. Conte had not confirmed his team on Monday night and was still considering his options, but Hazard is Chelsea’s form man and the player Barcelona fear most. He has netted three times in six Champions League games this season and is the club’s top scorer in all competitions with 15 goals. He would further enhance his reputation throughout Europe by adding to that tally against Barca. Hazard’s Premier League pedigree has never been in doubt, but the 27-year-old is keen to now truly announce himself against Europe’s best. “Every game I try and play my best football,” said Hazard. “Last year we didn't play Champions League, but this year we are back and I played a few good games: Atletico Madrid away, Roma, here against Madrid. You want to shine when you play the best in the world. If I want to reach that level, I need to play a great game.” Despite often being compared to and judged against Messi, Hazard has only gone head-to-head against the Argentine on one previous occasion – for Belgium in the 2014 World Cup – and lost. Eden Hazard's brother Thorgan also plays for Belgium Credit: REUTERS “It's good to be compared with the greatest ever, Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo,” said Hazard. “But I'm completely different. We play in a different league. I try to do my job and try to reach their level because they are the best in the world. Every season I try and do my best. “When we play these kinds of games, we need to perform. If you want to be one of the best, you have to play well in the big games. This is a big game. Let's go for it and try to give everything.” A goal or match-winning performance would inevitably prompt more speculation linking Hazard to Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid. “I play for Chelsea now for six years,” said Hazard. “I'm just happy here. Like you say, I have two years left on my contract. I'm happy here, my family is happy here. Now I'm just focused on the game against Barcelona to the end of the season. I don't think much about the future because you never know what happens in the future. I'm thinking about the game, that's it.” Messi has not scored in eight appearances against Chelsea and the Blues are unbeaten against Barca in seven meetings, having last lost to them at Stamford Bridge in 2005-06. Messi playing against Chelsea in 2009 at Stamford Bridge Credit: GETTY IMAGES It was also Messi who missed a decisive penalty in the 2012 semi-final second leg, which Chelsea progressed from and went on to win the final against Bayern Munich. Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic said: “We know Leo hasn't had much luck against Chelsea in the past, but this is a different game. We have to move on. “Leo works very hard. He's obviously been in the gym a lot in recent years, looking after himself. We train hard every day, giving 100 per cent, and we need him a lot. We need Leo, we need Leo Messi.” Morata has only played 49 minutes of first-team football in five weeks due to pain in his back, while Giroud had been out with a hamstring injury before joining Chelsea and has so far played 157 minutes for the club over three games. Together with the fact he is without midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, that has led to Conte looking at the possibility of playing with an energetic front three of Pedro, Hazard in the middle and Willian. Conte admitted he has been up at night agonising over how to prepare for the visit of Barca and claims his side will have to play a “perfect” game. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “I must be honest, it was a bit difficult to sleep - to sleep well,” said Conte. “When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too. “We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it's very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game. “For sure, we have to play a perfect game if we want to win. You start these two games with one favourite and this is Barcelona. I think that they earned the right to be the favourites this season for what they have been doing for many years in football in the world. “But, for this reason, I think we must be excited to face this challenge. These two games will be very important to understand which is our level in this competition. It won't be easy and we must be prepared to suffer. But, at the same time, we must be excited.”
Eden Hazard: 'Every game I try my best - but I want to shine against Barcelona'
Eden Hazard has warned Barcelona that it is his time to shine in the Champions League, as Antonio Conte considers giving the Belgian the responsibility of trying to fire Chelsea towards the quarter-finals. Head coach Conte could start Hazard as a ‘false nine’ at Stamford Bridge for Tuesday night’s last-16 first-leg clash, ahead of Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, who are still short of full match fitness. Conte had not confirmed his team on Monday night and was still considering his options, but Hazard is Chelsea’s form man and the player Barcelona fear most. He has netted three times in six Champions League games this season and is the club’s top scorer in all competitions with 15 goals. He would further enhance his reputation throughout Europe by adding to that tally against Barca. Hazard’s Premier League pedigree has never been in doubt, but the 27-year-old is keen to now truly announce himself against Europe’s best. “Every game I try and play my best football,” said Hazard. “Last year we didn't play Champions League, but this year we are back and I played a few good games: Atletico Madrid away, Roma, here against Madrid. You want to shine when you play the best in the world. If I want to reach that level, I need to play a great game.” Despite often being compared to and judged against Messi, Hazard has only gone head-to-head against the Argentine on one previous occasion – for Belgium in the 2014 World Cup – and lost. Eden Hazard's brother Thorgan also plays for Belgium Credit: REUTERS “It's good to be compared with the greatest ever, Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo,” said Hazard. “But I'm completely different. We play in a different league. I try to do my job and try to reach their level because they are the best in the world. Every season I try and do my best. “When we play these kinds of games, we need to perform. If you want to be one of the best, you have to play well in the big games. This is a big game. Let's go for it and try to give everything.” A goal or match-winning performance would inevitably prompt more speculation linking Hazard to Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid. “I play for Chelsea now for six years,” said Hazard. “I'm just happy here. Like you say, I have two years left on my contract. I'm happy here, my family is happy here. Now I'm just focused on the game against Barcelona to the end of the season. I don't think much about the future because you never know what happens in the future. I'm thinking about the game, that's it.” Messi has not scored in eight appearances against Chelsea and the Blues are unbeaten against Barca in seven meetings, having last lost to them at Stamford Bridge in 2005-06. Messi playing against Chelsea in 2009 at Stamford Bridge Credit: GETTY IMAGES It was also Messi who missed a decisive penalty in the 2012 semi-final second leg, which Chelsea progressed from and went on to win the final against Bayern Munich. Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic said: “We know Leo hasn't had much luck against Chelsea in the past, but this is a different game. We have to move on. “Leo works very hard. He's obviously been in the gym a lot in recent years, looking after himself. We train hard every day, giving 100 per cent, and we need him a lot. We need Leo, we need Leo Messi.” Morata has only played 49 minutes of first-team football in five weeks due to pain in his back, while Giroud had been out with a hamstring injury before joining Chelsea and has so far played 157 minutes for the club over three games. Together with the fact he is without midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, that has led to Conte looking at the possibility of playing with an energetic front three of Pedro, Hazard in the middle and Willian. Conte admitted he has been up at night agonising over how to prepare for the visit of Barca and claims his side will have to play a “perfect” game. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “I must be honest, it was a bit difficult to sleep - to sleep well,” said Conte. “When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too. “We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it's very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game. “For sure, we have to play a perfect game if we want to win. You start these two games with one favourite and this is Barcelona. I think that they earned the right to be the favourites this season for what they have been doing for many years in football in the world. “But, for this reason, I think we must be excited to face this challenge. These two games will be very important to understand which is our level in this competition. It won't be easy and we must be prepared to suffer. But, at the same time, we must be excited.”
Pedro Rodriguez knows better than most that Chelsea do not face Mission Impossible in their last-16 Champions League clash against Barcelona and Lionel Messi, thanks to one of the most painful memories of his distinguished career. Chelsea have largely been written off ahead of the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, but, perhaps significantly, Pedro does not consider the tie to be a lost cause. Despite winning the Champions League on three different occasions and five La Liga titles during seven years as a first-team player at Barcelona, the 2012 semi-final defeat to Chelsea remains a tough one to take for Pedro – even though he moved to Stamford Bridge almost three years ago. A stoppage time goal from Fernando Torres in the Nou Camp secured Chelsea’s progression into the final, in which they beat Bayern Munich to lift the trophy for the first and, so far, only time. “This memory stays with me even now, a very sad day for me and my team-mates,” said Pedro. “I remember a lot of things: when you control the game and score the first goal, but then Leo (Messi) missed a penalty and then Fernando scored with the game's last touch to finish the tie... I remember it all because it was such a sad day for Barcelona and for all of us. “I remember these games so well. Chelsea were always horrible opponents, very difficult in these games: compact, strong in defence, pressed very well. For that reason, we always found it difficult against them. For the players of Barcelona, they'll be thinking this tie is going to be very tough, this game for them, because Chelsea are strong. Chelsea are compact, and it's never easy to play against us.” Just as Pedro was part of the Barcelona squad six years ago, captain Gary Cahill and David Luiz were Chelsea players when the Blues knocked out the Spaniards, and Pedro believes the current squad can use that semi-final success as inspiration this time around. “The reality is it's not impossible for us,” he said. “It's possible for us to beat Barcelona and go through into the next round. It's difficult because they're a very great, big team, but it's not impossible.” Asked if there is any reason for Chelsea to be fearful of Barcelona, Pedro added: “No, not at all. If you start with fear, then that hands it to Barcelona.” Messi will arrive in London still looking for his first goal against Chelsea and Pedro has reminded his team-mates that, although he rates the Argentine as the best player in the history of the game, Barcelona’s star man can be stopped. “He's the best player in the world, but he's not invincible,” said Pedro. “It's probably a hard game for us, a massive game, but if the team are really focused on fighting together, you never know in football. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “We'll have possibilities to get through. But, obviously, it's Barcelona. It's Leo Messi. It's very difficult to stop this guy because he's very quick, very clever out on the pitch. But, look, it's not impossible.” Having been a team-mate of Messi for so long, Pedro tried to describe what it is like to train and play with him, and the likes of Andres Iniesta, on a daily basis. “Always you look and try and take on his (Messi’s) movement and his skills,” said Pedro. “But he's on another level. It's very difficult to copy him and pick up how he moves. Leo Messi races away from Francis Coquelin Credit: Action Plus “For him, it's instinctive and he's unique in the world. No one can do what he does. For this reason, to have played with him is special. Special for me, and something to tell my sons in the future because, probably, he'll be considered the best in history. “Leo Messi is the best player in the world for me, but look at the others that have been at Barcelona... Andres, Xavi and all the others, [Thierry] Henry, Ronaldinho, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Samuel] Eto'o... so many of them. Then there are the likes of [Carlos] Puyol, [Eric] Abidal... the list goes on. “I was lucky enough to play with them all, such good players, and stayed more years with them. I learned so much from them as team-mates. It was a great honour for me to be there with them, and such a big part of my development as a player from a young age, playing with this type of player.” Pedro came through with a golden group of Barcelona youngsters Credit: AFP Pedro won 20 major honours in total with Barcelona and can be forgiven for the odd slip of the tongue, as he occasionally still describes the La Liga leaders as “us”. But the 30-year-old insists he will not have any split loyalties over the two-legged last-16 tie. “It was an incredible time with a special team,” said Pedro. “They're one of the biggest teams in the world. It's easier to win titles there, probably, than over here because they have very good players like Leo Messi and others, the best players in the world. For this reason, I'm very happy to have played my part and to have won those titles with them. “Now it's different. Now I am here, at Chelsea, and defend the badge on this shirt, the Chelsea shirt, with great honour and pride. I hope to win this game and go through in this tie.” And while much of the pre-game attention will centre around how Antonio Conte’s team can stop Messi and Co, Pedro believes Chelsea have matchwinners of their own. “It’s a good opportunity for us, a good game to how our qualities and what we can do,” said Pedro. “The players here, Eden (Hazard) or (Alvaro) Morata or Willy (Willian), are quick players and will be a danger on the counter-attack. They are motivated. That will give us opportunities to score, for sure.”
Pedro interview: Lionel Messi is best ever but not invincible - Chelsea can beat Barcelona just like in 2012
Pedro Rodriguez knows better than most that Chelsea do not face Mission Impossible in their last-16 Champions League clash against Barcelona and Lionel Messi, thanks to one of the most painful memories of his distinguished career. Chelsea have largely been written off ahead of the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, but, perhaps significantly, Pedro does not consider the tie to be a lost cause. Despite winning the Champions League on three different occasions and five La Liga titles during seven years as a first-team player at Barcelona, the 2012 semi-final defeat to Chelsea remains a tough one to take for Pedro – even though he moved to Stamford Bridge almost three years ago. A stoppage time goal from Fernando Torres in the Nou Camp secured Chelsea’s progression into the final, in which they beat Bayern Munich to lift the trophy for the first and, so far, only time. “This memory stays with me even now, a very sad day for me and my team-mates,” said Pedro. “I remember a lot of things: when you control the game and score the first goal, but then Leo (Messi) missed a penalty and then Fernando scored with the game's last touch to finish the tie... I remember it all because it was such a sad day for Barcelona and for all of us. “I remember these games so well. Chelsea were always horrible opponents, very difficult in these games: compact, strong in defence, pressed very well. For that reason, we always found it difficult against them. For the players of Barcelona, they'll be thinking this tie is going to be very tough, this game for them, because Chelsea are strong. Chelsea are compact, and it's never easy to play against us.” Just as Pedro was part of the Barcelona squad six years ago, captain Gary Cahill and David Luiz were Chelsea players when the Blues knocked out the Spaniards, and Pedro believes the current squad can use that semi-final success as inspiration this time around. “The reality is it's not impossible for us,” he said. “It's possible for us to beat Barcelona and go through into the next round. It's difficult because they're a very great, big team, but it's not impossible.” Asked if there is any reason for Chelsea to be fearful of Barcelona, Pedro added: “No, not at all. If you start with fear, then that hands it to Barcelona.” Messi will arrive in London still looking for his first goal against Chelsea and Pedro has reminded his team-mates that, although he rates the Argentine as the best player in the history of the game, Barcelona’s star man can be stopped. “He's the best player in the world, but he's not invincible,” said Pedro. “It's probably a hard game for us, a massive game, but if the team are really focused on fighting together, you never know in football. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “We'll have possibilities to get through. But, obviously, it's Barcelona. It's Leo Messi. It's very difficult to stop this guy because he's very quick, very clever out on the pitch. But, look, it's not impossible.” Having been a team-mate of Messi for so long, Pedro tried to describe what it is like to train and play with him, and the likes of Andres Iniesta, on a daily basis. “Always you look and try and take on his (Messi’s) movement and his skills,” said Pedro. “But he's on another level. It's very difficult to copy him and pick up how he moves. Leo Messi races away from Francis Coquelin Credit: Action Plus “For him, it's instinctive and he's unique in the world. No one can do what he does. For this reason, to have played with him is special. Special for me, and something to tell my sons in the future because, probably, he'll be considered the best in history. “Leo Messi is the best player in the world for me, but look at the others that have been at Barcelona... Andres, Xavi and all the others, [Thierry] Henry, Ronaldinho, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Samuel] Eto'o... so many of them. Then there are the likes of [Carlos] Puyol, [Eric] Abidal... the list goes on. “I was lucky enough to play with them all, such good players, and stayed more years with them. I learned so much from them as team-mates. It was a great honour for me to be there with them, and such a big part of my development as a player from a young age, playing with this type of player.” Pedro came through with a golden group of Barcelona youngsters Credit: AFP Pedro won 20 major honours in total with Barcelona and can be forgiven for the odd slip of the tongue, as he occasionally still describes the La Liga leaders as “us”. But the 30-year-old insists he will not have any split loyalties over the two-legged last-16 tie. “It was an incredible time with a special team,” said Pedro. “They're one of the biggest teams in the world. It's easier to win titles there, probably, than over here because they have very good players like Leo Messi and others, the best players in the world. For this reason, I'm very happy to have played my part and to have won those titles with them. “Now it's different. Now I am here, at Chelsea, and defend the badge on this shirt, the Chelsea shirt, with great honour and pride. I hope to win this game and go through in this tie.” And while much of the pre-game attention will centre around how Antonio Conte’s team can stop Messi and Co, Pedro believes Chelsea have matchwinners of their own. “It’s a good opportunity for us, a good game to how our qualities and what we can do,” said Pedro. “The players here, Eden (Hazard) or (Alvaro) Morata or Willy (Willian), are quick players and will be a danger on the counter-attack. They are motivated. That will give us opportunities to score, for sure.”
Eden Hazard has warned Barcelona that it is his time to shine in the Champions League, as Antonio Conte considers giving the Belgian the responsibility of trying to fire Chelsea towards the quarter-finals. Head coach Conte could start Hazard as a ‘false nine’ at Stamford Bridge for Tuesday night’s last-16 first-leg clash, ahead of Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, who are still short of full match fitness. Conte had not confirmed his team on Monday night and was still considering his options, but Hazard is Chelsea’s form man and the player Barcelona fear most. He has netted three times in six Champions League games this season and is the club’s top scorer in all competitions with 15 goals. He would further enhance his reputation throughout Europe by adding to that tally against Barca. Hazard’s Premier League pedigree has never been in doubt, but the 27-year-old is keen to now truly announce himself against Europe’s best. “Every game I try and play my best football,” said Hazard. “Last year we didn't play Champions League, but this year we are back and I played a few good games: Atletico Madrid away, Roma, here against Madrid. You want to shine when you play the best in the world. If I want to reach that level, I need to play a great game.” Despite often being compared to and judged against Messi, Hazard has only gone head-to-head against the Argentine on one previous occasion – for Belgium in the 2014 World Cup – and lost. Eden Hazard's brother Thorgan also plays for Belgium Credit: REUTERS “It's good to be compared with the greatest ever, Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo,” said Hazard. “But I'm completely different. We play in a different league. I try to do my job and try to reach their level because they are the best in the world. Every season I try and do my best. “When we play these kinds of games, we need to perform. If you want to be one of the best, you have to play well in the big games. This is a big game. Let's go for it and try to give everything.” A goal or match-winning performance would inevitably prompt more speculation linking Hazard to Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid. “I play for Chelsea now for six years,” said Hazard. “I'm just happy here. Like you say, I have two years left on my contract. I'm happy here, my family is happy here. Now I'm just focused on the game against Barcelona to the end of the season. I don't think much about the future because you never know what happens in the future. I'm thinking about the game, that's it.” Messi has not scored in eight appearances against Chelsea and the Blues are unbeaten against Barca in seven meetings, having last lost to them at Stamford Bridge in 2005-06. Messi playing against Chelsea in 2009 at Stamford Bridge Credit: GETTY IMAGES It was also Messi who missed a decisive penalty in the 2012 semi-final second leg, which Chelsea progressed from and went on to win the final against Bayern Munich. Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic said: “We know Leo hasn't had much luck against Chelsea in the past, but this is a different game. We have to move on. “Leo works very hard. He's obviously been in the gym a lot in recent years, looking after himself. We train hard every day, giving 100 per cent, and we need him a lot. We need Leo, we need Leo Messi.” Morata has only played 49 minutes of first-team football in five weeks due to pain in his back, while Giroud had been out with a hamstring injury before joining Chelsea and has so far played 157 minutes for the club over three games. Together with the fact he is without midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, that has led to Conte looking at the possibility of playing with an energetic front three of Pedro, Hazard in the middle and Willian. Conte admitted he has been up at night agonising over how to prepare for the visit of Barca and claims his side will have to play a “perfect” game. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “I must be honest, it was a bit difficult to sleep - to sleep well,” said Conte. “When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too. “We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it's very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game. “For sure, we have to play a perfect game if we want to win. You start these two games with one favourite and this is Barcelona. I think that they earned the right to be the favourites this season for what they have been doing for many years in football in the world. “But, for this reason, I think we must be excited to face this challenge. These two games will be very important to understand which is our level in this competition. It won't be easy and we must be prepared to suffer. But, at the same time, we must be excited.”
Eden Hazard: 'Every game I try my best - but I want to shine against Barcelona'
Eden Hazard has warned Barcelona that it is his time to shine in the Champions League, as Antonio Conte considers giving the Belgian the responsibility of trying to fire Chelsea towards the quarter-finals. Head coach Conte could start Hazard as a ‘false nine’ at Stamford Bridge for Tuesday night’s last-16 first-leg clash, ahead of Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, who are still short of full match fitness. Conte had not confirmed his team on Monday night and was still considering his options, but Hazard is Chelsea’s form man and the player Barcelona fear most. He has netted three times in six Champions League games this season and is the club’s top scorer in all competitions with 15 goals. He would further enhance his reputation throughout Europe by adding to that tally against Barca. Hazard’s Premier League pedigree has never been in doubt, but the 27-year-old is keen to now truly announce himself against Europe’s best. “Every game I try and play my best football,” said Hazard. “Last year we didn't play Champions League, but this year we are back and I played a few good games: Atletico Madrid away, Roma, here against Madrid. You want to shine when you play the best in the world. If I want to reach that level, I need to play a great game.” Despite often being compared to and judged against Messi, Hazard has only gone head-to-head against the Argentine on one previous occasion – for Belgium in the 2014 World Cup – and lost. Eden Hazard's brother Thorgan also plays for Belgium Credit: REUTERS “It's good to be compared with the greatest ever, Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo,” said Hazard. “But I'm completely different. We play in a different league. I try to do my job and try to reach their level because they are the best in the world. Every season I try and do my best. “When we play these kinds of games, we need to perform. If you want to be one of the best, you have to play well in the big games. This is a big game. Let's go for it and try to give everything.” A goal or match-winning performance would inevitably prompt more speculation linking Hazard to Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid. “I play for Chelsea now for six years,” said Hazard. “I'm just happy here. Like you say, I have two years left on my contract. I'm happy here, my family is happy here. Now I'm just focused on the game against Barcelona to the end of the season. I don't think much about the future because you never know what happens in the future. I'm thinking about the game, that's it.” Messi has not scored in eight appearances against Chelsea and the Blues are unbeaten against Barca in seven meetings, having last lost to them at Stamford Bridge in 2005-06. Messi playing against Chelsea in 2009 at Stamford Bridge Credit: GETTY IMAGES It was also Messi who missed a decisive penalty in the 2012 semi-final second leg, which Chelsea progressed from and went on to win the final against Bayern Munich. Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic said: “We know Leo hasn't had much luck against Chelsea in the past, but this is a different game. We have to move on. “Leo works very hard. He's obviously been in the gym a lot in recent years, looking after himself. We train hard every day, giving 100 per cent, and we need him a lot. We need Leo, we need Leo Messi.” Morata has only played 49 minutes of first-team football in five weeks due to pain in his back, while Giroud had been out with a hamstring injury before joining Chelsea and has so far played 157 minutes for the club over three games. Together with the fact he is without midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, that has led to Conte looking at the possibility of playing with an energetic front three of Pedro, Hazard in the middle and Willian. Conte admitted he has been up at night agonising over how to prepare for the visit of Barca and claims his side will have to play a “perfect” game. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “I must be honest, it was a bit difficult to sleep - to sleep well,” said Conte. “When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too. “We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it's very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game. “For sure, we have to play a perfect game if we want to win. You start these two games with one favourite and this is Barcelona. I think that they earned the right to be the favourites this season for what they have been doing for many years in football in the world. “But, for this reason, I think we must be excited to face this challenge. These two games will be very important to understand which is our level in this competition. It won't be easy and we must be prepared to suffer. But, at the same time, we must be excited.”
Eden Hazard has warned Barcelona that it is his time to shine in the Champions League, as Antonio Conte considers giving the Belgian the responsibility of trying to fire Chelsea towards the quarter-finals. Head coach Conte could start Hazard as a ‘false nine’ at Stamford Bridge for Tuesday night’s last-16 first-leg clash, ahead of Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, who are still short of full match fitness. Conte had not confirmed his team on Monday night and was still considering his options, but Hazard is Chelsea’s form man and the player Barcelona fear most. He has netted three times in six Champions League games this season and is the club’s top scorer in all competitions with 15 goals. He would further enhance his reputation throughout Europe by adding to that tally against Barca. Hazard’s Premier League pedigree has never been in doubt, but the 27-year-old is keen to now truly announce himself against Europe’s best. “Every game I try and play my best football,” said Hazard. “Last year we didn't play Champions League, but this year we are back and I played a few good games: Atletico Madrid away, Roma, here against Madrid. You want to shine when you play the best in the world. If I want to reach that level, I need to play a great game.” Despite often being compared to and judged against Messi, Hazard has only gone head-to-head against the Argentine on one previous occasion – for Belgium in the 2014 World Cup – and lost. Eden Hazard's brother Thorgan also plays for Belgium Credit: REUTERS “It's good to be compared with the greatest ever, Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo,” said Hazard. “But I'm completely different. We play in a different league. I try to do my job and try to reach their level because they are the best in the world. Every season I try and do my best. “When we play these kinds of games, we need to perform. If you want to be one of the best, you have to play well in the big games. This is a big game. Let's go for it and try to give everything.” A goal or match-winning performance would inevitably prompt more speculation linking Hazard to Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid. “I play for Chelsea now for six years,” said Hazard. “I'm just happy here. Like you say, I have two years left on my contract. I'm happy here, my family is happy here. Now I'm just focused on the game against Barcelona to the end of the season. I don't think much about the future because you never know what happens in the future. I'm thinking about the game, that's it.” Messi has not scored in eight appearances against Chelsea and the Blues are unbeaten against Barca in seven meetings, having last lost to them at Stamford Bridge in 2005-06. Messi playing against Chelsea in 2009 at Stamford Bridge Credit: GETTY IMAGES It was also Messi who missed a decisive penalty in the 2012 semi-final second leg, which Chelsea progressed from and went on to win the final against Bayern Munich. Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic said: “We know Leo hasn't had much luck against Chelsea in the past, but this is a different game. We have to move on. “Leo works very hard. He's obviously been in the gym a lot in recent years, looking after himself. We train hard every day, giving 100 per cent, and we need him a lot. We need Leo, we need Leo Messi.” Morata has only played 49 minutes of first-team football in five weeks due to pain in his back, while Giroud had been out with a hamstring injury before joining Chelsea and has so far played 157 minutes for the club over three games. Together with the fact he is without midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, that has led to Conte looking at the possibility of playing with an energetic front three of Pedro, Hazard in the middle and Willian. Conte admitted he has been up at night agonising over how to prepare for the visit of Barca and claims his side will have to play a “perfect” game. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “I must be honest, it was a bit difficult to sleep - to sleep well,” said Conte. “When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too. “We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it's very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game. “For sure, we have to play a perfect game if we want to win. You start these two games with one favourite and this is Barcelona. I think that they earned the right to be the favourites this season for what they have been doing for many years in football in the world. “But, for this reason, I think we must be excited to face this challenge. These two games will be very important to understand which is our level in this competition. It won't be easy and we must be prepared to suffer. But, at the same time, we must be excited.”
Eden Hazard: 'Every game I try my best - but I want to shine against Barcelona'
Eden Hazard has warned Barcelona that it is his time to shine in the Champions League, as Antonio Conte considers giving the Belgian the responsibility of trying to fire Chelsea towards the quarter-finals. Head coach Conte could start Hazard as a ‘false nine’ at Stamford Bridge for Tuesday night’s last-16 first-leg clash, ahead of Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, who are still short of full match fitness. Conte had not confirmed his team on Monday night and was still considering his options, but Hazard is Chelsea’s form man and the player Barcelona fear most. He has netted three times in six Champions League games this season and is the club’s top scorer in all competitions with 15 goals. He would further enhance his reputation throughout Europe by adding to that tally against Barca. Hazard’s Premier League pedigree has never been in doubt, but the 27-year-old is keen to now truly announce himself against Europe’s best. “Every game I try and play my best football,” said Hazard. “Last year we didn't play Champions League, but this year we are back and I played a few good games: Atletico Madrid away, Roma, here against Madrid. You want to shine when you play the best in the world. If I want to reach that level, I need to play a great game.” Despite often being compared to and judged against Messi, Hazard has only gone head-to-head against the Argentine on one previous occasion – for Belgium in the 2014 World Cup – and lost. Eden Hazard's brother Thorgan also plays for Belgium Credit: REUTERS “It's good to be compared with the greatest ever, Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo,” said Hazard. “But I'm completely different. We play in a different league. I try to do my job and try to reach their level because they are the best in the world. Every season I try and do my best. “When we play these kinds of games, we need to perform. If you want to be one of the best, you have to play well in the big games. This is a big game. Let's go for it and try to give everything.” A goal or match-winning performance would inevitably prompt more speculation linking Hazard to Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid. “I play for Chelsea now for six years,” said Hazard. “I'm just happy here. Like you say, I have two years left on my contract. I'm happy here, my family is happy here. Now I'm just focused on the game against Barcelona to the end of the season. I don't think much about the future because you never know what happens in the future. I'm thinking about the game, that's it.” Messi has not scored in eight appearances against Chelsea and the Blues are unbeaten against Barca in seven meetings, having last lost to them at Stamford Bridge in 2005-06. Messi playing against Chelsea in 2009 at Stamford Bridge Credit: GETTY IMAGES It was also Messi who missed a decisive penalty in the 2012 semi-final second leg, which Chelsea progressed from and went on to win the final against Bayern Munich. Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic said: “We know Leo hasn't had much luck against Chelsea in the past, but this is a different game. We have to move on. “Leo works very hard. He's obviously been in the gym a lot in recent years, looking after himself. We train hard every day, giving 100 per cent, and we need him a lot. We need Leo, we need Leo Messi.” Morata has only played 49 minutes of first-team football in five weeks due to pain in his back, while Giroud had been out with a hamstring injury before joining Chelsea and has so far played 157 minutes for the club over three games. Together with the fact he is without midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, that has led to Conte looking at the possibility of playing with an energetic front three of Pedro, Hazard in the middle and Willian. Conte admitted he has been up at night agonising over how to prepare for the visit of Barca and claims his side will have to play a “perfect” game. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “I must be honest, it was a bit difficult to sleep - to sleep well,” said Conte. “When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too. “We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it's very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game. “For sure, we have to play a perfect game if we want to win. You start these two games with one favourite and this is Barcelona. I think that they earned the right to be the favourites this season for what they have been doing for many years in football in the world. “But, for this reason, I think we must be excited to face this challenge. These two games will be very important to understand which is our level in this competition. It won't be easy and we must be prepared to suffer. But, at the same time, we must be excited.”
Pedro Rodriguez knows better than most that Chelsea do not face Mission Impossible in their last-16 Champions League clash against Barcelona and Lionel Messi, thanks to one of the most painful memories of his distinguished career. Chelsea have largely been written off ahead of the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, but, perhaps significantly, Pedro does not consider the tie to be a lost cause. Despite winning the Champions League on three different occasions and five La Liga titles during seven years as a first-team player at Barcelona, the 2012 semi-final defeat to Chelsea remains a tough one to take for Pedro – even though he moved to Stamford Bridge almost three years ago. A stoppage time goal from Fernando Torres in the Nou Camp secured Chelsea’s progression into the final, in which they beat Bayern Munich to lift the trophy for the first and, so far, only time. “This memory stays with me even now, a very sad day for me and my team-mates,” said Pedro. “I remember a lot of things: when you control the game and score the first goal, but then Leo (Messi) missed a penalty and then Fernando scored with the game's last touch to finish the tie... I remember it all because it was such a sad day for Barcelona and for all of us. “I remember these games so well. Chelsea were always horrible opponents, very difficult in these games: compact, strong in defence, pressed very well. For that reason, we always found it difficult against them. For the players of Barcelona, they'll be thinking this tie is going to be very tough, this game for them, because Chelsea are strong. Chelsea are compact, and it's never easy to play against us.” Just as Pedro was part of the Barcelona squad six years ago, captain Gary Cahill and David Luiz were Chelsea players when the Blues knocked out the Spaniards, and Pedro believes the current squad can use that semi-final success as inspiration this time around. “The reality is it's not impossible for us,” he said. “It's possible for us to beat Barcelona and go through into the next round. It's difficult because they're a very great, big team, but it's not impossible.” Asked if there is any reason for Chelsea to be fearful of Barcelona, Pedro added: “No, not at all. If you start with fear, then that hands it to Barcelona.” Messi will arrive in London still looking for his first goal against Chelsea and Pedro has reminded his team-mates that, although he rates the Argentine as the best player in the history of the game, Barcelona’s star man can be stopped. “He's the best player in the world, but he's not invincible,” said Pedro. “It's probably a hard game for us, a massive game, but if the team are really focused on fighting together, you never know in football. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “We'll have possibilities to get through. But, obviously, it's Barcelona. It's Leo Messi. It's very difficult to stop this guy because he's very quick, very clever out on the pitch. But, look, it's not impossible.” Having been a team-mate of Messi for so long, Pedro tried to describe what it is like to train and play with him, and the likes of Andres Iniesta, on a daily basis. “Always you look and try and take on his (Messi’s) movement and his skills,” said Pedro. “But he's on another level. It's very difficult to copy him and pick up how he moves. Leo Messi races away from Francis Coquelin Credit: Action Plus “For him, it's instinctive and he's unique in the world. No one can do what he does. For this reason, to have played with him is special. Special for me, and something to tell my sons in the future because, probably, he'll be considered the best in history. “Leo Messi is the best player in the world for me, but look at the others that have been at Barcelona... Andres, Xavi and all the others, [Thierry] Henry, Ronaldinho, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Samuel] Eto'o... so many of them. Then there are the likes of [Carlos] Puyol, [Eric] Abidal... the list goes on. “I was lucky enough to play with them all, such good players, and stayed more years with them. I learned so much from them as team-mates. It was a great honour for me to be there with them, and such a big part of my development as a player from a young age, playing with this type of player.” Pedro came through with a golden group of Barcelona youngsters Credit: AFP Pedro won 20 major honours in total with Barcelona and can be forgiven for the odd slip of the tongue, as he occasionally still describes the La Liga leaders as “us”. But the 30-year-old insists he will not have any split loyalties over the two-legged last-16 tie. “It was an incredible time with a special team,” said Pedro. “They're one of the biggest teams in the world. It's easier to win titles there, probably, than over here because they have very good players like Leo Messi and others, the best players in the world. For this reason, I'm very happy to have played my part and to have won those titles with them. “Now it's different. Now I am here, at Chelsea, and defend the badge on this shirt, the Chelsea shirt, with great honour and pride. I hope to win this game and go through in this tie.” And while much of the pre-game attention will centre around how Antonio Conte’s team can stop Messi and Co, Pedro believes Chelsea have matchwinners of their own. “It’s a good opportunity for us, a good game to how our qualities and what we can do,” said Pedro. “The players here, Eden (Hazard) or (Alvaro) Morata or Willy (Willian), are quick players and will be a danger on the counter-attack. They are motivated. That will give us opportunities to score, for sure.”
Pedro interview: Lionel Messi is best ever but not invincible - Chelsea can beat Barcelona just like in 2012
Pedro Rodriguez knows better than most that Chelsea do not face Mission Impossible in their last-16 Champions League clash against Barcelona and Lionel Messi, thanks to one of the most painful memories of his distinguished career. Chelsea have largely been written off ahead of the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, but, perhaps significantly, Pedro does not consider the tie to be a lost cause. Despite winning the Champions League on three different occasions and five La Liga titles during seven years as a first-team player at Barcelona, the 2012 semi-final defeat to Chelsea remains a tough one to take for Pedro – even though he moved to Stamford Bridge almost three years ago. A stoppage time goal from Fernando Torres in the Nou Camp secured Chelsea’s progression into the final, in which they beat Bayern Munich to lift the trophy for the first and, so far, only time. “This memory stays with me even now, a very sad day for me and my team-mates,” said Pedro. “I remember a lot of things: when you control the game and score the first goal, but then Leo (Messi) missed a penalty and then Fernando scored with the game's last touch to finish the tie... I remember it all because it was such a sad day for Barcelona and for all of us. “I remember these games so well. Chelsea were always horrible opponents, very difficult in these games: compact, strong in defence, pressed very well. For that reason, we always found it difficult against them. For the players of Barcelona, they'll be thinking this tie is going to be very tough, this game for them, because Chelsea are strong. Chelsea are compact, and it's never easy to play against us.” Just as Pedro was part of the Barcelona squad six years ago, captain Gary Cahill and David Luiz were Chelsea players when the Blues knocked out the Spaniards, and Pedro believes the current squad can use that semi-final success as inspiration this time around. “The reality is it's not impossible for us,” he said. “It's possible for us to beat Barcelona and go through into the next round. It's difficult because they're a very great, big team, but it's not impossible.” Asked if there is any reason for Chelsea to be fearful of Barcelona, Pedro added: “No, not at all. If you start with fear, then that hands it to Barcelona.” Messi will arrive in London still looking for his first goal against Chelsea and Pedro has reminded his team-mates that, although he rates the Argentine as the best player in the history of the game, Barcelona’s star man can be stopped. “He's the best player in the world, but he's not invincible,” said Pedro. “It's probably a hard game for us, a massive game, but if the team are really focused on fighting together, you never know in football. What will Olivier Giroud bring to Chelsea and where will he fit in? “We'll have possibilities to get through. But, obviously, it's Barcelona. It's Leo Messi. It's very difficult to stop this guy because he's very quick, very clever out on the pitch. But, look, it's not impossible.” Having been a team-mate of Messi for so long, Pedro tried to describe what it is like to train and play with him, and the likes of Andres Iniesta, on a daily basis. “Always you look and try and take on his (Messi’s) movement and his skills,” said Pedro. “But he's on another level. It's very difficult to copy him and pick up how he moves. Leo Messi races away from Francis Coquelin Credit: Action Plus “For him, it's instinctive and he's unique in the world. No one can do what he does. For this reason, to have played with him is special. Special for me, and something to tell my sons in the future because, probably, he'll be considered the best in history. “Leo Messi is the best player in the world for me, but look at the others that have been at Barcelona... Andres, Xavi and all the others, [Thierry] Henry, Ronaldinho, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Samuel] Eto'o... so many of them. Then there are the likes of [Carlos] Puyol, [Eric] Abidal... the list goes on. “I was lucky enough to play with them all, such good players, and stayed more years with them. I learned so much from them as team-mates. It was a great honour for me to be there with them, and such a big part of my development as a player from a young age, playing with this type of player.” Pedro came through with a golden group of Barcelona youngsters Credit: AFP Pedro won 20 major honours in total with Barcelona and can be forgiven for the odd slip of the tongue, as he occasionally still describes the La Liga leaders as “us”. But the 30-year-old insists he will not have any split loyalties over the two-legged last-16 tie. “It was an incredible time with a special team,” said Pedro. “They're one of the biggest teams in the world. It's easier to win titles there, probably, than over here because they have very good players like Leo Messi and others, the best players in the world. For this reason, I'm very happy to have played my part and to have won those titles with them. “Now it's different. Now I am here, at Chelsea, and defend the badge on this shirt, the Chelsea shirt, with great honour and pride. I hope to win this game and go through in this tie.” And while much of the pre-game attention will centre around how Antonio Conte’s team can stop Messi and Co, Pedro believes Chelsea have matchwinners of their own. “It’s a good opportunity for us, a good game to how our qualities and what we can do,” said Pedro. “The players here, Eden (Hazard) or (Alvaro) Morata or Willy (Willian), are quick players and will be a danger on the counter-attack. They are motivated. That will give us opportunities to score, for sure.”
Besiktas midfielder Gary Medel is looking forward to coming up against friend and fellow Chile international Arturo Vidal when Besiktas face Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Medel putting Vidal friendship aside when Besiktas face Bayern
Besiktas midfielder Gary Medel is looking forward to coming up against friend and fellow Chile international Arturo Vidal when Besiktas face Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Besiktas midfielder Gary Medel is looking forward to coming up against friend and fellow Chile international Arturo Vidal when Besiktas face Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Medel putting Vidal friendship aside when Besiktas face Bayern
Besiktas midfielder Gary Medel is looking forward to coming up against friend and fellow Chile international Arturo Vidal when Besiktas face Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Besiktas midfielder Gary Medel is looking forward to coming up against friend and fellow Chile international Arturo Vidal when Besiktas face Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Medel putting Vidal friendship aside when Besiktas face Bayern
Besiktas midfielder Gary Medel is looking forward to coming up against friend and fellow Chile international Arturo Vidal when Besiktas face Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Jupp Heynckes has praised his experienced Besiktas counterpart Senol Gunes, as Bayern Munich prepare to host the Turkish side in the Champions League last 16.
Secret of Besiktas' success is their coach - Heynckes
Jupp Heynckes has praised his experienced Besiktas counterpart Senol Gunes, as Bayern Munich prepare to host the Turkish side in the Champions League last 16.
Jupp Heynckes has praised his experienced Besiktas counterpart Senol Gunes, as Bayern Munich prepare to host the Turkish side in the Champions League last 16.
Secret of Besiktas' success is their coach - Heynckes
Jupp Heynckes has praised his experienced Besiktas counterpart Senol Gunes, as Bayern Munich prepare to host the Turkish side in the Champions League last 16.
Jupp Heynckes has praised his experienced Besiktas counterpart Senol Gunes, as Bayern Munich prepare to host the Turkish side in the Champions League last 16.
Secret of Besiktas' success is their coach - Heynckes
Jupp Heynckes has praised his experienced Besiktas counterpart Senol Gunes, as Bayern Munich prepare to host the Turkish side in the Champions League last 16.
Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels says his side cannot afford to underestimate Champions League last-16 opponents Besiktas.
Besiktas deserved to top their Champions League group - Hummels
Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels says his side cannot afford to underestimate Champions League last-16 opponents Besiktas.
Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels says his side cannot afford to underestimate Champions League last-16 opponents Besiktas.
Besiktas deserved to top their Champions League group - Hummels
Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels says his side cannot afford to underestimate Champions League last-16 opponents Besiktas.
Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels says his side cannot afford to underestimate Champions League last-16 opponents Besiktas.
Besiktas deserved to top their Champions League group - Hummels
Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels says his side cannot afford to underestimate Champions League last-16 opponents Besiktas.
Thoughts of repeating Bayern Munich's 2012-13 treble season are not likely to occupy Jupp Heynckes as he prepares to face Besiktas.
Madrid, Barca & PSG are Champions League favourites, says Heynckes
Thoughts of repeating Bayern Munich's 2012-13 treble season are not likely to occupy Jupp Heynckes as he prepares to face Besiktas.
FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2018 file photo VfL Wolfsburg coach Trainer Martin Schmidt attends the soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich in Wolfsburg, northern Germany. Schmidt resigned as coach, the club announced on their homepage Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (Swen Pfoertner/dpa via AP,file)
Martin Schmidt quits as coach of struggling Wolfsburg
FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2018 file photo VfL Wolfsburg coach Trainer Martin Schmidt attends the soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich in Wolfsburg, northern Germany. Schmidt resigned as coach, the club announced on their homepage Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (Swen Pfoertner/dpa via AP,file)
FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2018 file photo VfL Wolfsburg coach Trainer Martin Schmidt attends the soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich in Wolfsburg, northern Germany. Schmidt resigned as coach, the club announced on their homepage Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (Swen Pfoertner/dpa via AP,file)
Martin Schmidt quits as coach of struggling Wolfsburg
FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2018 file photo VfL Wolfsburg coach Trainer Martin Schmidt attends the soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich in Wolfsburg, northern Germany. Schmidt resigned as coach, the club announced on their homepage Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (Swen Pfoertner/dpa via AP,file)
Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes admits he has some tough decisions to make with his side at near full-strength for their Champions League last 16, first-leg, clash against Besiktas on Tuesday.
Strong Bayern Munich Give Jupp Heynckes Selection Headache for Champions League
Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes admits he has some tough decisions to make with his side at near full-strength for their Champions League last 16, first-leg, clash against Besiktas on Tuesday.
Besiktas won their Champions League group and will offer a stern test to Bayern Munich, defender Mats Hummels has predicted.
Hummels wary of 'top European team' as Bayern prepare for Besiktas
Besiktas won their Champions League group and will offer a stern test to Bayern Munich, defender Mats Hummels has predicted.
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Bayern Munich host Besiktas in the last 16, first leg of the Champions League riding a 13-match winning streak under Jupp Heynckes, the architect behind the revival of his 2013 treble-winning heroes.
Jupp Heynckes Brings Treble Spirit to Resurgent Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich host Besiktas in the last 16, first leg of the Champions League riding a 13-match winning streak under Jupp Heynckes, the architect behind the revival of his 2013 treble-winning heroes.
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich's Mats Hummels during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich's Mats Hummels during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich's Mats Hummels during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference
Soccer Football - Champions League - Bayern Munich Press Conference - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 19, 2018 Bayern Munich's Mats Hummels during the press conference REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

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