Chelsea and Barcelona are two teams that have a storied rivalry down the years in European competition.
From Ronaldinho’s magic in 2005, Andres Iniesta’s thunderbolt in 2009 and Fernando Torres famously rounding Victor Valdes in 2012, the fixture has become one of the most entertaining rivalries in continental club football.
Ahead of their showdown at Stamford Bridge, we’ve compiled a combined XI between the sides, in which both are well-represented in our 4-3-3 lineup.
With plenty of stars on show, what a team this would be.
GK: Thibaut Courtois – Chelsea
While Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a brilliant goalkeeper, there are few better in world football than Courtois. The Chelsea stopper is as reliable and consistent as they come, rarely ever making a mistake and always there to make the stop when called upon.
A coveted asset and rightly so, at 25 his best years are ahead of him and he is improving all the time.
DEF: Sergi Roberto – Barcelona
Inarguably the weakest position for both sides, Roberto just about edges the challenge of Victor Moses for the starting spot. Roberto offers a lot going forward and his versatility is a real asset to Ernesto Valverde’s men.
He scored the crucial goal against PSG last season and can help out at both ends of the pitch when required. Whilst not always the most reliable defensively, ability-wise he possesses an abundance of natural footballing talent.
DEF: Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea
One of the most consistent defenders in European football over the last few seasons, the former Marseille man has adapted seamlessly into the central position following his emergence as a full-back.
His defensive versatility, tenacity and ability in the air are incredible, and he also possesses excellent vision – proved by the number of assists he can provide when playing out from defence. He is a leader at the back and the first name on Chelsea’s team-sheet.
DEF: Gerard Pique – Barcelona
Pique has won everything the game has to offer: Champions Leagues, World Cups, European Championships and more. He is a composed and authoritative figure in defence and is one of the best tacklers on the planet.
He also is more than capable of causing problems at set-pieces and Chelsea will have to be at their best in all departments to stop him from flourishing in the coming weeks.
DEF: Marcos Alonso – Chelsea
While Jordi Alba is an incredible full-back, for what Alonso brings to Chelsea he pips him into the eleven. Alonso is lightning quick, a composed finisher and provides so much in terms of both goals and assists that it would be a crime not to include him.
He has been a revelation since moving to Chelsea and has been a consistent performer this season despite Chelsea’s title bid falling asunder.
MID: Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea
A former Barcelona man, Fabregas is all too familiar with the style he will face on Tuesday evening.
His vision, creativity and improvisation set him apart from other midfielders, and if Chelsea are looking for someone to pick the pass to unlock the Catalans’ defence, they will look no further than Fabregas. His influence could have a huge bearing over the outcome of the two legs.
MID: N’Golo Kante – Chelsea
A midfield enforcer, Kante is dynamic and electrifying. When it comes to physical presence in midfield, he is like a horse running on batteries – he simply never stops.
There is no one better in world football at screening the back four, and it is testament to Kante’s ability that he keeps Sergio Busquets out of the side. Undoubtedly one of the finest defensive midfielders to have ever graced the English game.
MID: Andres Iniesta – Barcelona
With Philippe Coutinho unavailable for Champions League selection, we’ve opted for the Barcelona legend as the final component in midfield. Regarded as the finest midfielder of his generation, the 33-year-old’s passing, composure and vision have been the beating heart of Barcelona’s successes down the years.
He still has plenty to offer the Catalans, and he will be more than capable of rising to the challenge against Chelsea. His experience is simply invaluable.
FW: Lionel Messi – Barcelona
What is there to be said that hasn’t been said already? Messi is seen by many as the greatest footballer of all time. He can turn a game on its head in a matter of minutes, and if on top form there will be nothing Chelsea can do to stop him.
He has never found the net against the Londoners, but will be looking to put things right over the coming weeks. If Barcelona win out – you can be certain it is Messi that will be plastered across the back-pages, most likely for a moment of genius that proves the difference.
FW: Luis Suarez – Barcelona
Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud are proven goalscorers, but nowhere near the calibre of Suarez. The Uruguayan has scored goals for fun down the years and is lethal when granted the opportunity.
He has found the net on multiple occasions against Chelsea for Liverpool, and few will be surprised if he does so again.
FW: Eden Hazard – Chelsea
If Hazard replicates some of the showings he produced when Chelsea stormed to last season’s Premier League title, then Barcelona are in real trouble.
His trickery, dribbling and finishing ability are second to none on his day. When on form, he would start for any side in the world, and this one is no different. If Chelsea upset the odds, Hazard will be the fulcrum. A mesmerising talent.
Our Chelsea-Barcelona combined XI:
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena