AS Roma’s Stephan El Shaarawy acknowledges that they will face it very difficult against Barcelona and believes that they will have to be tactful to overcome their opponents
Following their narrow away goal victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on the previous knockout stage, Roma have been drawn to face Barcelona for the quarter-finals of the Champions League with the first leg set to take place at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.
El Shaarawy has admitted that he is expecting a very difficult encounter for Roma, but has also pointed out that it is a 180 minute tie. Meaning that there is still a return leg to play and, because of that, they should be tactful in the way the game is approach.
“We know that it’ll be very tough to play against Barcelona at the Camp Nou but we have nothing to lose. We have to try to show our spirit, work hard and capitalise on any chances we get. We have to be mindful that the tie is played over 180 minutes. We’ll have to try to get a good result in Barcelona while remembering that there’s still the home leg to come.” the 25 year-old told UEFA.
The former AC Milan winger is also wary of the threat that Lionel Messi will provide for Barcelona up front with El Shaarawy believing that the Argentine stands above the rest as the best player in the world.
“We’ll have to be alert in terms of how they knock the ball about, keep possession and the moves that Messi comes up with. He’s the best player of the lot at the moment, and I’m not just talking about Barça but the whole world. We’re up against the very best and every time he gets on the ball, he can make something happen. That’s why we’ll have to try to act accordingly and restrict his influence as much as possible.” said El Shaarawy.
Following a loan spell with Roma in the 2015/16 season, El Shaarawy completed a permanent transfer to the Stadio Olimpico in 2016 and has scored eight goals in his 33 appearances across all competitions this season.