Pitchside Europe

Milan v Barcelona: The view from Europe

When Barcelona travel to face Milan at San Siro, there will not be many people expecting the Italian side to challenge the Catalans.

The in-form Rossoneri are on a seven-game unbeaten run in Serie A and have won their last six matches at home in all competitions, but then this is Barcelona they are facing.

The Catalan giants are on a seven-match unbeaten streak against Milan, and their overall record of six wins, seven draws and five defeats on Italian soil should lead no one to back the hosts with too much confidence.

Barcelona have won eight of their last 11 away matches in the Champions League and are targeting a sixth successive quarter-final appearance.

We have asked our offices from around the continent to provide their verdict ahead of the big game, and you can find out who Europe thinks will advance through to the last eight.

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Tom Adams, British Eurosport

It is hard to see past Barcelona. Their form has improved from last season while Milan have declined, and given the Catalans won 3-1 on aggregate in last season’s quarter-finals, a repeat result is expected. Barca are just too strong in all departments, even for a team that has European pedigree such as Milan. The Rossoneri have the potential to trouble Barca’s defence – Stephan El Shaarawy could star, even with Mario Balotelli cup-tied – but they will lose the midfield battle and no one has worked out how to stop Lionel Messi.

WINNER: Barcelona

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Maxime Dupuis, Eurosport France

I believe Milan have no chance of going through because the Catalans are too strong. Milan seem too weak in comparison with Barcelona. Even if Milan were impressive at times last year, it is not the same thing this year. Milan lost a lot of experience this summer, and against a machine like Barcelona, I can’t seem them going through. It is as simple as that. They are too young to advance.

WINNER: Barcelona

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Christopher Hemscheidt, Eurosport Germany

One thing is obvious: Barcelona are still the top team at the European level. Although the Milan side has changed a lot since last year's quarter-final defeat, it is not to be expected that the Italians will be a serious threat to the Catalans. Of course the Rossoneri have the ability to put real pressure on the Spanish side, but it will not be enough for them to go through to the next round. Star Mario Balotelli will not be able to join the team - due to the Champions League games he has already played for his former team Manchester City. Stephan El Shaarawy is still a big question mark, because he continues to suffer from  injury. Even if Kevin-Prince Boateng is really in phenomenal form, he will not be able to stop Lionel Messi on his own. But who will?

WINNER: Barcelona

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Luca Stacul, Eurosport Italy

Last year Barcelona beat Milan in the quarter-finals, deservedly. This season, the Catalans are possibly even stronger than before (at least looking at the stats) while the Rossoneri are less experienced and vulnerable at the back - and considering Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta's departures, it is not surprising. So the point is simple: how can Milan stop Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta? From an individual point of view it is a no contest, but the Italians are in great shape right now and confidence is key when you face a super-rival like Barca; moreover, Milan have nothing to lose this time and have enough attacking ability (that is to say, El Shaarawy) to create some problems for Barcelona's back four, which is far from unbeatable. But even if you take all Milan's possible strengths into account, it is still really hard to imagine Massimiliano Allegri's team beating Barcelona over two legs. His team simply does not have enough quality to overcome Barca.

WINNER: Barcelona

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Ivan Castello, Eurosport Spain

Barcelona are the favourites to eliminate Milan in this tie, and it's natural that Barca will win over the two games. However, something amazing happened with Barca against Chelsea last season. It is the beauty of football, something that is difficult to predict in advance. But right now the Spanish club are far superior to any team and, of course, much better than Milan. The Italian team would only have options if they defend at home as though they were the visiting team and avoid getting beaten. Maybe only then will Barcelona win by just the single goal.

WINNER: Barcelona

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Igor Zelenitsyn, Eurosport Russia

Barcelona are better than last year, and we should not forget that the Catalans have conceded very few goals this season. That might be a key factor, and Milan will obviously be without their key player from recent games, Mario Balotelli. But even with him on the pitch, I would not say that Barcelona are likely to lose. Any team who wants to overcome Barcelona over two games must have a strong midfield and central defence, but to fight with Mario Yepes and Philippe Mexes against Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas is suicide. The two teams are living on different levels right now.

WINNER: Barcelona

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Onur Yunus Akmeric, Eurosport Turkey

Milan have been in recession since the end of the last season: they have sold their key players and now have a young squad. Barcelona are playing the best football right now and for any team it is very hard to beat them. Given the fact that Mario Balotelli is not eligible to play against Barcelona, the Catalan club have an even greater chance against Milan. I guess the key factor is the possession. Milan have to keep the ball, otherwise they have no chance of stopping the Messi-Xavi-Iniesta trio. Barca’s defence have had problems this season and Rossoneri will hope that Stephen El Sharaawy can expose any weaknesses. But it certainly seems that Barcelona will qualify for quarters.

WINNER: Barcelona

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FINAL TALLY: Milan 0 Barcelona 7

Who do YOU think will advance to the quarter-finals? Let us know below!