Ernesto Valverde has spoken in his pre-match press conference of feeling “emotional” ahead of tomorrow night’s game against his old employers Olympiacos. Both of the current Barcelona manager’s stints managing outside of Spain have been with the Greek giants, and he enjoyed great success there – winning the Greek Superleague in all three seasons he spent there.
He has promised to put aside those emotions tomorrow night however, as Barcelona look to move one step closer to qualifying for the knockout stages. The five-time champions have enjoyed their usual very solid start to this Champions League campaign, having kept clean sheets in both of their opening two games – against Juventus and Sporting respectively.
Olympiacos, by contrast, have lost both of their opening games and had lost three consecutive games in all competitions until a thrilling 4-3 win at Panionios at the weekend. They will be no pushovers however, they have won the Greek Superleague a whopping 44 times.
One man who will perhaps be feeling even more emotional than Valverde tomorrow night is Olympiacos defender Alberto Botía, returning to his former ground the Camp Nou.
Having graduated La Masia and made his debut in the Champions League against Manchester Utd, Botia found first-team opportunities and left for Sporting Gijon with spells at Sevilla and Elche to follow. Botia is again finding first-team opportunities limited for Olympiacos and may be glad not to have to attempt to deal with former team-mates such as Lionel Messi tomorrow night.
Kick-off is at 7:45PM (GMT).