Soccer-Barca ready to suffer in battle against PSG, Xavi says


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Paris St Germain v FC Barcelona - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - April 10, 2024 FC Barcelona coach Xavi REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

(Reuters) - Barcelona are ready for a battle against Paris St Germain in the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final, manager Xavi Hernandez said on Monday, adding that his players are willing to suffer in order to advance.

Barca beat PSG 3-2 in the first leg in France last week but Xavi said his side will need to be nearly flawless to reach the semi-finals for the first time in five years.

"It's going to be a major football war," Xavi told a press conference on Monday.

"We are not a team that speculates, we will want to take the ball away from PSG and win the game. Hopefully we'll be at our best. They're going to demand a lot from us."

The victory in Paris was Barca's first win in the Champions League knockout stage in four years and left them full of confidence as they reached six consecutive victories in all competitions.

They are unbeaten since losing 5-3 at home to Villarreal in LaLiga in January that led to Xavi announcing he was stepping down as manager at the end of what then looked like a difficult season.

Now, 13 competitive games without a loss later, including a commanding performance in the French capital to end PSG's 27-game unbeaten run, Tuesday's challenge seems to have presented itself at the perfect time.

"Happy to be where we are, proud to be where we are. I think it's a good moment and I'm excited. We feel it already," Xavi said.

"We have to control our emotions, our temperament... It's a game of heads or tails. We want to be in control with the ball, and we want to show the best side and personality of the team.

"We need our fans to be loud because PSG will make us suffer, there's no doubt about it, and we have to be a team to beat them. All of us, together."

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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