Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola's Barcelona have failed to impress, at times, this season.

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has praised Wednesday's Champions League opponents AC Milan as one the best teams in the world.

The two sides, who will meet for the third and fourth time in this season's Champions League, when they contest the two-legged quarter-final, are already among the most successful clubs in the history of European football.

In an earlier IBTimes UK report, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (who lost to the Italians, 3-4 on aggregate, in the previous round) dismissed Milan's chances against the Spaniards.

Guardiola, however, has no such illusions.

"San Siro is one of the great stadiums in European football and AC Milan is one of the best teams in the world. In the quarter-finals of a competition like this, with an opponent like this one, you must be aware that (you) have to play two excellent games or you won't go through," the Catalan manager explained, in an ESPN report.

Guardiola has good reason to respect the Rossoneri, whose attack will be lead by former Barcelona front man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"They have great combative play, they're good in the air, and they dominate long passes, thanks to Ibrahimovic, when he receives the ball, the whole offensive mechanism of the team snaps into play." he stated, adding, "He's unbeatable in the air. We must try to deactivate him and AC Milan through ball possession."

Meanwhile, Guardiola is not the only Cataln to express caution about Ibrahimovic's abilities.

"He's one of the world's best players. He's very difficult to stop, he's a very complete player. He's fantastic in the air and he's great with the ball at his feet..." explained Barcelona's Gerard Pique, who knows he will have his hands full over two legs.

There is as much optimism, in the Milan camp, ahead of this game, as there is caution in Barcelona's.

"Messi is a step ahead of everybody else, then there is Ibra and, third, Cristiano Ronaldo," enthused Milan keeper, Christian Abbiati, in a Telegraph report.

Ibrahimovic scored his 26th and 27th goals of the season, over the weekend, to help Milan stage a comeback to beat rivals Roma and retain a four-point lead over Juventus in the Serie A.

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