Tuesday night sees Chelsea welcome Barcelona to Stamford Bridge for their Champions League last 16 tie and Blues midfielder Cesc Fabregas has called upon his teammates to take the game to the La Liga leaders.
Having come through the Barcelona academy at the age of 12 and then rejoining the Catalan club in 2011, the Spain international is looking forward to the clash.
Fabregas is yet to face his boyhood club since being swooped by Antonio Conte’s predecessor Jose Mourinho in 2014.
Conte has managed to return his side to winning ways with victories over West Brom and Hull City but they come up against a Barcelona side who have only lost once all season.
The 30-year-old is set to start and believes that Tuesday’s game is an opportunity worth taking.
Speaking to Goal.com, he said: “We all want to live it from inside. These games require less talking and to focus on playing and giving all we have. Of course [it means a lot to play Barcelona]. To me, and to all players in the world, including the ones who were born there.
“But, whether you like Barcelona or not, the ‘special’ word can be understood in many ways and, as a footballer who likes to live great moments, you know Barcelona offers it, both playing for them or against them. It is going to be a fascinating round and I am sure we are all going to enjoy the games.”
The former Arsenal man has been ever present in Conte’s side this season accumulating 35 appearances including playing a hand in the 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the groups.
Despite his long spell with the Blaugrana, he only managed to lift the La Liga once and never won the Champions League during his stay.
He also played a pivotal part in Chelsea’s Premier League title win last season and feels that a win is more than likely.
“They are one of the best teams in the world,” he added.
“But we are the last champions of the Premier League, we deserve respect.We deserve to give it a go. To try and play two good games against them. It has happened in the past. In football, never say never.
“Anything can happen and we have to take our chances. We have to create them and take them. That will be very important for us.”
Barcelona lead the way at the top of La Liga seven points ahead of second place Atletico Madrid, yet the home side have had an inconsistent campaign and see themselves placed fourth.
Conte is without trio Tiemone Bakayoko, David Luiz and Ross Barkley while the visitors will miss Philippe Coutinho and Nelson Semedo.