Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared his side “the best team in the world” ahead of their Champions League quarter final clash against his former employers Bayern Munich.
The Blaugrana are underdogs going into the fixture against the German champions, who eliminated Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate in the Round of 16.
The Catalan giants have qualified for the last eight of the competition for 13 successive seasons but have not reached the final since the 2015 triumph over Juventus.
Indeed, the last two exits from the competition have proven particularly traumatic for the club as they fell to dramatic comeback losses against Roma and Liverpool respectively.
Vidal was suspended for the Round of 16 win over Napoli but now returns – along with Sergio Busquets – for selection.
“I understand why there is negativity but we are the best team in the world,” Vidal told reporters, in quotes carried by Diario Sport.
“The problem for us has been that we do not show it in every game and have lacked that consistency.
“Bayern will be confident but they will know that they are not just playing an ordinary team in the Bundesliga, they’re playing against Barca.
“We have Leo [Messi], we have the best players and we want to showcase what we can do.”
Vidal was then asked to compare Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski – whose goalscoring exploits this season have been extraordinary – with Barcelona’s star Lionel Messi.
“Lewandowski is extraordinary, very dangerous, an insatiable goalscorer,” Vidal aged.
“It’s going to be very difficult to stop him but it’s impossible to compare him with Messi, who is from another planet.
“But you could say that Lewandowski is the best striker in the world alongside Luis Suarez.”
The winners of Barca’s game against Bayern will face the victors of the quarter final tie between Manchester City and Lyon in the last four.