Ahead of Tuesday's Barcelona-AC Milan (live, FOX Soccer, 2:00 p.m. ET) match that will help open group stage of this year's UEFA Champions League competition, FOXSoccer.com's James Horncastle looks at three classic meetings between the two European super powers.
Milan 4-0 Barcelona - May 18, 1994
Adriano Galliani woke up in his Athens hotel the morning after the match, opening his eyes to the sight of the European Cup nestling on the adjacent pillow. "My ex-wife tells me she found me in bed, still holding the cup tight," he smiled. This one, the third since Silvio Berlusconi's arrival at Milan in 1986, felt special, come as it did against Johan Cruyff's star-studded Barcelona dubbed the 'Dream Team' with Romário, Hristo Stoichkov, Pep Guardiola and Ronald Koeman.
"Barcelona are the favorites," Cruyff said. "We're a more complete, competitive and experienced team than the one that played the final and won at Wembley two years ago. In football terms, Milan's style is nothing special."
Few actually disagreed. After all, suspensions had also robbed Fabio Capello of his central defenders Alessandro Costacurta and Franco Baresi. "They base their game on defense while we base ours on attack," Cruyff added. "This is where we can create problems."
Capello called upon Filippo Galli and Paolo Maldini to form a defensive partnership, leaving Marcel Desailly in midfield. The Frenchman, signed the previous autumn from Marseille, would become the first player to win the Champions League with two different clubs in successive seasons. The hero, however, was Dejan Savicevic, the languid genius, who in 18 months at Milan had rowed constantly with Capello. He scored one goal, a wonderful lob, and created the other three in an emphatic 4-0 victory.
Andoni Zubizarreta, the Barcelona goalkeeper, spoke for many when he said: "Milan played to 100 per cent of their potential - perfect."
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