Manchester City know first-hand that beating Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez will be tough

Manuel Pellegrini's side were beaten by the Catalan side at the Round of 16 stage last season

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The Independent Football

Manchester City will feel like they have gone from the frying pan and into the fire after drawing Barcelona in the Round of 16 of the Champions League.

Manuel Pellegrini's side did remarkable well to escape the group stage having picked up just two points from the first four games. Victories over Bayern Munich and then Roma ensured they were in today's draw but the result was about as bad as it could get.

Among those Manchester City could have been drawn against were AS Monaco and FC Porto but it was the giants from Catalonia that came out of one of the many bowls in Nyon.

It could be argued that Barcelona are not the force they were during the years under Pep Guardiola. During that time they won two European titles in the space of three years and appeared almost indestructible at a domestic level.


However, since their last European title in the 2010/11 season, Barcelona are yet to reach the final again. They were knocked out in the semi-finals by Chelsea the year after their triumph and then humbled 7-0 on aggregate by Bayern Munich at the same stage the following year. Last season Barcelona reached the quarter-finals where they were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Atletico Madrid.  Domestically over the last three years they've won La Liga once but seen the two teams from Madrid take the others.

Despite only reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League last term, Manchester City will remember Barcelona's campaign well as it was they who Barcelona beat to reach the last eight of the competition.

In the first-leg of their Round of 16 tie Martin Demichelis was sent off early in the second half before the Spanish side took full advantage. Lionel Messi converted from the resulting penalty before Dani Alves put the tie virtually to bed with a late second. In the return leg it was Messi again who opened the scoring. Vincent Kompany pulled one back a the death but Alves still had time to score and with it express the dominance with which Barcelona won the tie.

Manchester City's Martin Demichelis brings down Barcelona's Lionel Messi to concede a penalty and receives a red card


So while Barcelona might not be at the level of dominance in Europe that they enjoyed for a spell at the turn of the decade, City know first hand they remain a force to be reckoned with. With Luis Suarez having arrived at the Nou Camp over the summer, they will arguably be even tougher opponents this time around.