Striking rivals out to steal a march
As FC Barcelona start the defence of their UEFA Champions League title at FC Internazionale Milano all talk focused on Zlatan Ibrahimović and Samuel Eto'o as they prepare to come up against their former clubs. The forwards traded places in the summer, Ibrahimović swapping San Siro for Catalonia and Eto'o making the opposite journey two months after scoring the opener in Barça's 2-0 final triumph over Manchester United FC in Rome.
José Mourinho, Inter coach
It's just the first game. I don't want to think Barça are the favourites. We have started to play in a different way and we want to become a team with our own characteristics that work for both Italian and European football. Eto'o is always motivated, and he was born to win. He loves playing football and when he's on the pitch he becomes another person. He left Barcelona, but I'm sure it's still in his heart. I don't think this match will be something extraordinary for him, he will play like he always does. He doesn't have to prove anything, we all know his qualities. Guardiola is happy with Ibra, I'm happy with Eto'o and Eto'o is happy here. We are playing against Barcelona, not against Ibra. Anyway, it is always a pleasure to come up against the best players. I will tell you the starting eleven and then leave: Júlio César, Maicon, Samuel, Lucio and Chivu, Stanković or Muntari, Zanetti, Thiago Motta, Sneijder, Milito and Eto'o.
Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
This game won't determine who wins the group. This is a very tough group, with four national champions. It's a pleasure to be in Italy. Last season we didn't face a single Italian opponent. Personally it's an honour for me to face a coach as great as Mourinho who has won trophies in three different countries. Inter have won four Scudetti in a row, with different players and coaches, which proves their strength. We have to play great to win. They're a strong team. Mourinho may have revealed his starting eleven but I won't do it, I never do it. I wanted Ibrahimović because we knew him and his winning mentality well. He's adapting very quickly and we wait for him to be 100 per cent. I hope I get the chance to say hi to Eto'o tomorrow. I want to thank him for the five wonderful years he spent in Barcelona. He is a champion and it won't be easy.
• Barcelona are aiming to become the first team to defend the European crown since AC Milan in 1989/90. Inter are seeking a first European Champion Clubs' Cup since back-to-back wins in 1964 and 1965.
• The sides have met in the UEFA Champions League before. Barcelona were convincing 3-0 home winners in their second group-stage encounter on 18 February 2002 before the teams played out a goalless draw the following week.
• Inter's Javier Zanetti and Barcelona pair Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernández played in both matches, with Andrés Iniesta an unused substitute at San Siro.
• Inter have lost just one of 15 home matches against Spanish clubs. The Nerazzurri achieved the first of their two European Cup successes by defeating Real Madrid CF 3-1 in the 1964 final in Vienna.
Out: Esteban Cambiasso (knee), Marco Materazzi (thigh)
Doubtful: Dejan Stanković (flu)
Misses next match if booked: none
Out: Bojan Krkić (thigh), Rafael Márquez
Misses next match if booked: none
13/09/09 Inter 2-0 Parma FC
(Eto'o 71, Milito 88)
12/09/09 Getafe CF 0-2 Barcelona
(Ibrahimović 66, Messi 80)
Did you know?
Mourinho served as an assistant to the late Sir Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal at Barcelona from 1996-2000.