The Spain star has praised the capital club and believes they are one of the top teams on the globe, but is backing his Barcelona side to eliminate them from the Champions League
Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas believes Atletico Madrid are currently one of the strongest teams in the world, but according to the Spain midfielder, the Catalan club have the players capable of beating Los Colchoneros.
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"I think Atletico are one of the strongest teams today," Fabregas told reporters. "They have no pressure from the public to win the game.
"It will be a very difficult match, but we have the team to beat Atletico. We have to compete hard and we have the players that are more than capable to do that."
Fabregas, who has made eight appearances and scored one goal in the Champions League this season, is enjoying his football at the Camp Nou but has acknowledged that nobody’s place in Gerardo Martino’s starting XI is guaranteed.
"I have played in my position for three years and I feel comfortable and free, but tomorrow I do not know if I will play in this position or if I'll play at all,” the midfielder continued.
"There are 14 or 15 players who can play, so we will have to wait and see. The coach hasn’t said anything, but we are very motivated and tomorrow will be an important game for us."
Barcelona have played Atletico four times this season but they are yet to beat the capital club, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by Fabregas or by coach Martino.
"We don’t enjoy playing Atletico. They have a very well-defined style. Tomorrow we have to play like Barcelona more than ever. We need to score if we want to remain a big club and move to semis."
Although he has suggested it may benefit Barca, the 26-year-old added that he doesn’t believe that Atletico will be severely disadvantaged by the absence of top scorer Diego Costa as they have "great players" in other positions.
"Obviously, we prefer Diego Costa not to play, but still Atletico have great players who do things well without Costa," he added.