Barcelona have discovered their fate in the Champions League and can be forgiven for viewing Roma as the dream draw for a number of reasons.
Ernesto Valverde’s side faced a tough test in the last 16 as they were paired with Premier League champions Chelsea, but they showed their quality to win 4-1 on aggregate.
Their victory meant there were three Spanish teams in the last eight and Andres Iniesta admitted they did not want to face a Liga rival, explaining: “Not the Spanish sides because we know each other too well.”
Barcelona probably also wanted to avoid a reunion with Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. The Premier League leaders are seen by many as the top team in Europe currently and would certainly provide stiff competition.
So too Bayern Munich and Juventus who top their domestic leagues and will expect to go deep into the tournament. Barcelona may have got the better of Juve in the group stages this year, but were knocked out by the Italian giants in last season’s quarter-finals.
And then there’s Liverpool who have won the European Cup five times and have already proved this season they can score goals against just about anyone.
Which just leaves Roma, who are third in Serie A but a distant 18 points behind leaders Juventus. Barcelona will also need no reminding that the last time the two sides met in the competition they were comfortable winners.
Yet while they might be their preferred draw, Barcelona must not underestimate Roma. After all this is a team that topped Group C ahead of both Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. They lost just once in the group stages, a 2-0 defeat at Atletico, but also picked up some impressive results.
They are also yet to concede a goal at home in the competition. Atletico were held to a goalless draw, Chelsea beaten 3-0, Qarabag 1-0 and Shakhtar Donetsk also went down 1-0.
A key part of their defensive prowess has been goalkeeper Alisson who has attracted admirers from all over Europe, including both Liverpool and Real Madrid if rumours are to be believed. Up front Edin Dzeko is the danger man with four goals in the tournament so far, including the one that secured their place in the last eight.
Barcelona will play the first leg at home on Wednesday, April 4th before heading to Italy for the second leg on Tuesday, April 10. A good result will be needed at the Camp Nou in order to set up Ernesto Valverde’s side for the return leg.
The Blaugrana will head into the two matches as favourites given their form this season both domestically and in Europe. Barca haven’t made it to the last four of the tournament since 2015, which is also the last time they lifted the famous old trophy.