The first leg ended 1-1 and Barça will have the opportunity on Tuesday to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2020, after failing to progress past the group stage in the last two seasons.The last time the Catalans won a Champions League knockout match was in a 3-1 home win over Napoli in 2020. With the club third in La Liga, eight points behind of the leader, Real Madrid, Europe is now its priority. “The most important game of the season? Yes, it’s true, and we are ready, we are excited,” Xavi told a press conference. “It’s been four years since we reached the quarter-finals and this is how we see things. We want to measure ourselves against an opponent who, even if he is not going through the best period, remains the champion of the Scudetto (2023)” he added. Barça’s title defense seems doomed to failure, while that of Napoli is already over, with the Serie A champions seventh in the standings, 31 points behind leaders Inter Milan. Francesco Calzona, Napoli’s third coach this season, took over in February and the club is unbeaten in five matches. “Napoli have improved with the new coach, who is more dynamic and more comfortable,” he said. said of Italy in title.”

Xavi has confirmed that striker Ferran Torres, who has missed the last seven matches with a hamstring problem, is still not ready to return. The coach hopes Torres will be back for the next league match at Atlético Madrid on Sunday, but for now he is not looking for excuses despite the absences. “Our absences are many but we have to be competitive . We were better there (away against Napoli) and we need to be better here,” he said. “Absences are not an excuse, we are not afraid to fail, it is a chance to compete in front of our supporters.”