Andre Villas-Boas predicts Barcelona downfall

Andre Villas-Boas today predicted the end of Barcelona's dominance of European football.

The Chelsea boss admitted Barca had set the "benchmark" for how the game should be played in the past five years, which have seen them win the Champions League three times.

But despite acknowledging the firm foundations the Catalan giants had laid in order to achieve their remarkable recent success, the Portuguese could foresee their eventual downfall.

"These past years of Barcelona's success has collided with a multitude of events that has provided this team with the ability to play so well," said Villas-Boas, who has already admitted Chelsea may need to beat the Spanish giants this season if they are to end their agonising wait for Champions League glory.

"The amount of talent which came through their youth teams which comes together now in the first team, a manager that defends the values of the club like nobody else...

"These past four or five years of Barcelona will be, for sure, the exception.

"Eventually, there are years of better talent (elsewhere) and years of drought."

Barca have managed the all-too-rare feat of being vastly successful at the same time as playing jaw-dropping football.

Villas-Boas is aiming to pull off a similar trick at Chelsea and admitted he would never forgive himself if his philosophy failed to bring silverware to Chelsea.

The past month has seen the Blues' performances begin to reflect the way Villas-Boas - and, more importantly, billionaire owner Roman Abramovich - wants to see the game played.

But the elephant in the room since the Russian bought the club has always been his unrelenting demand for trophies, and while Villas-Boas would be happy to be cherished for the quality of his football, it is the quantity of silverware on his CV that is more important.

"The trophy cabinet is something that is more visible," he said.

"The way you achieve it is something very, very valuable and respectful and, for sure, I respect it more than the rest.

"But what is expected of me is to win trophies, particularly at a massive club like this one.

"So I wouldn't forgive myself if I missed the opportunity to win major trophies at this club."

Villas-Boas, who plans to quit his profession in the next 15 years, added: "The time will come when I feel proud of what I have achieved and I will leave my position.

"I want to have something that I can be proud of and I will try to get it."

Nothing would make Villas-Boas - or Abramovich - more proud than lifting the European Cup.

The Blues are in the midst of their latest attempt to win the Champions League and can take a huge step towards that goal with victories in their Group E double-header against Genk.

They meet tomorrow night in a game Chelsea will be expected to win, regardless of what team Villas-Boas fields.

Indeed, several changes are expected, with Fernando Torres almost certain to start in the midst of his domestic three-match ban.

Several first-team stars are likely to be rested, possibly even captain John Terry and vice-captain Frank Lampard.

"The most important thing for us is that we are aware of the amount of talent that we have at our disposal," said Villas-Boas, who will be without Ramires, with the midfielder rated 50-50 for Sunday's Barclays Premier League trip to QPR.

"Any XI that we put across is a very, very strong XI.

"This puts us in a position of comfort to have always a good rest.

"There are situations that might happen regarding the Queens Park Rangers game."

Tomorrow's match will also give Villas-Boas another chance to run the rule over Genk star Kevin de Bruyne, who revealed in the summer that he was in negotiations to join Chelsea.

Villas-Boas said: "He's exceptionally gifted technically and reminds me of the old technical Belgian players like Enzo Scifo.

"We've not only scouted him but we've scouted numerous different players before.

"It doesn't mean that all of them we scout will eventually join us."

PA

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