Verratti: Any player would play for Barcelona
The Paris Saint-Germain star is looking forward to testing himself against the Catalans in the Champions League but would not rule out a future move
Marco Verratti has admitted that Barcelona would be difficult to turn down despite his satisfaction with life at Paris Saint-Germain.
The Italian will be part of the PSG team looking to defeat Barca in the Champions League last 16, with the first leg taking place at Parc des Princes on Tuesday.
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The Ligue 1 champions made Unai Emery their new manager in the summer in part on the strength of his excellent record in European competition, but Verratti is aware they face a tough test against the team he still considers to be the best in the world.
And the midfielder conceded that he would be lying if he tried to claim he saw no attraction in one day turning out for the Catalans.
“Even though I am currently in a good project and I feel at home, any player would play for Barcelona,” Verratti told AS.
“They are still the best team in the world. They have the three best players in attack, and [Andres] Iniesta too. Iniesta, [Lionel] Messi and Neymar create a move in a second.”
Verratti added that he was flattered to have been compared to former Barcelona playmaker Xavi in terms of his ability to dictate play from the centre of the pitch.
“It is a pleasure to be compared to a player like Xavi,” he said. “That a team like Barcelona thinks of you is a source of pride and forces you to work harder.
“It is a great squad but I think of the present, not the future.”
Despite major investment, PSG are yet to progress beyond the quarter-finals of the Champions League under their Qatari owners and have been knocked out by Barcelona twice since the 2012-13 season.
Verratti does not, however, see Luis Enrique’s side as a nightmare draw and wants his team-mates to relish the opportunity to take on one of the continent’s finest teams.
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“We are in a good moment,” he insisted. “In recent years we have played a lot against Barca but every opportunity to do so I think is very beautiful. We know it is difficult.
“It will be important not to concede [an away goal] in the first leg. Let’s see if it’s possible.”