To take on Barcelona at their home ground Camp Nou will always be a tough task for any team in the world, no matter how stellar their squad. And it could be argued that this is only worsened in the Champions League, as their matches against us in the competition have been known for some pretty questionable refereeing in the past.
Surely we have made the referee’s job much easier in past times, with the most recent memory being John Terry’s clear red card offence in the first half of our 2012 Champions League semifinals’ return leg. But we still managed to pull through the tie, with goals from Ramires and Fernando Torres sealing our trip to the finals at Munich and the ensuing trophy-lifting exercise at the home of our opponents Bayern.
But even if we should come ready for any situation that might arise from the match-up, it is beyond ideal to keep ourselves with 11 players on the pitch. Brazilian attacker Willian, who is on his third visit — and his first as a Chelsea player — to Barça’s stadium is more than aware of that, and wants his teammates to be at same wavelength just so the team can have their best chances of making it past the Catalans today.
“It is important in these kind of games not to lose any players, we have to keep our discipline. The past shows that Chelsea have never lost against Barcelona with 11 men. It is vital we keep all 11 on the pitch until the end of the game.”
“We must still play with the same level of intensity as the first leg, no doubt. We have to do a similar game as we did in the first match. We made it difficult for them. I believe we can do the same job against them on their own ground as we did at Stamford Bridge. We will go for it.”
“I want to go through to the next round and I aim to provide the best of my football to try to help my team-mates. I think we can cause a surprise to everyone.”
Willian joined Chelsea one year after our triumph in the Champions League, and helped the club reach the tournament’s semifinals in his first season at Stamford Bridge. Still, he wants to achieve more than that with the Blues.
“When I joined Chelsea, it was in my mind to win trophies and the Champions League was one of my ambitions because they are such a big club. We want to win things every year because that is the profile of the club, they always want to win here, there is always a winning mentality.”
“I have won two Premier League trophies and the League Cup and of course I want more. So let’s try to do something special in Europe this season.”
-Willian; Source: London Evening Standard
Barça’s Camp Nou has been witness of many great achievements in football, and amidst those there are the shows put on by some of the best players ever to come across in the sport. One of them is Ronaldinho, who was part of Barcelona for only four years but left an everlasting mark on their pitch with the performances he put on while donning their shirt.
No wonder he is an inspiration for players such as Willian, who regards Ronaldinho not only as an idol but also as the best player ever to grace the planet. And he follows the legendary player’s example by oozing happiness on and off the pitch.
“Ronaldinho was the most special for me when I watched him play for Barcelona. He was my idol and the footballer I wanted to be. I always watched him play, he was amazing. For me he was not only the best Brazilian player, but the best ever player, full stop.”
“Even though Lionel Messi has been named the [world’s] best player five times Ronaldinho is better in my opinion, even though he won it just the once.”
“What made him so special for me? It was the kind of things he used to do on the pitch, the way he acted.”
“He was always happy and played with a smile on his face. He had fun when he played. Of course, he still played with responsibility and wanted to win. But to play football you have to be happy. You can’t play unhappy. If you are not happy, you can’t do your best. Ronaldinho summed this up for me.”
“I wanted to play football anyway but I studied what he’d do, his best dribbles, his skills. And it has helped me in training and during games.”
“I feel I am playing my best football for Chelsea right now. And I am happy because of that. Just like Ronaldinho, I’m playing a high level because I’m happy. I’m trying to do my best every game. In football you have to always improve. We have to keep going the same way as a team too, to get better with each game.”
Ultimately, Willian and the team’s aim is to give Chelsea fans the opportunity to see history in the making. To do so, Willian can also draw inspiration from that unforgettable night in Barcelona almost six years ago.
“I remember watching Chelsea win the trophy in 2012. I saw the semi-final against Barcelona and the final.”
“It was an unbelievable game against Barcelona in the second leg. They were 2-0 up but then Ramires scored an amazing goal - another Brazilian who made his mark at the ground but for the opposition on this occasion.”
“It was a remarkable result for the club and we can do it again tonight. We believe we can do it too.”
“We trust in our team, we believe in ourselves and we know that we can do a job in Barcelona. Every team has their history. That Chelsea team had theirs, and now this is a chance for us to make ours.”
-Willian; Source: London Evening Standard
So saw we all.