Juventus’ Vice Chairman Pavel Nedved (left) and FC Barcelona’s Vice President Jordi Mestre following quarter-final draw for the UEFA Champions League tournament at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, yesterday. PHOTO: AFP
With Juventus drawn against Barcelona in the last eight of the Champions League, Pavel Nedved believes his club are much stronger than when they were defeated by the same opponents in the 2015 final.
Barca triumphed 3-1 two seasons ago to seal a LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble, while Juve have not lifted the famous trophy since 1996. Juve are seemingly set for a sixth successive domestic crown, but a third European Cup has continued to elude them as they seek to firmly establish themselves among the continent’s elite.
“It’s a fascinating tie against Barcelona,” said Juve vice president Nedved following yesterday’s draw in Nyon. “They are one of the most famous teams in the world and we only have to focus on the present knowing that we are a very strong team and that we can compete.
“I think Juve have improved a lot [since the 2015 final], this team can play without fear against Barcelona. “I don’t think playing at home or away changes that much at this level, you need to be at your best for 180 minutes or more.”
Juve will host the first leg on April 11 before the return at Camp Nou the following week, when full-back Dani Alves will be welcomed back to a club with whom he enjoyed eight trophy-laden years.
We have the utmost respect for Juventus, Dani Alves plays for them and he’s a player we are very fond of,” said Barca vice-president Jordi Mestre.