Cesc Fabregas will have no problem facing Lionel Messi and his Barcelona “friends” with Chelsea, but has not decided if he will celebrate a goal at Camp Nou.
The former Blaugrana midfielder will be back in familiar surroundings on Wednesday when the Premier League title holders face the Liga leaders in Champions League competition.
A heavyweight last-16 encounter is currently locked at 1-1, with Chelsea heading to Catalunya aware that they will need to score at least once in order to progress.
Messi and Co will be blocking their path, but Fabregas is relishing the challenge of taking on former colleagues.
The Spain international midfielder told Marca: “I like it, the feelings have always been positive ones.
“I did it with Arsenal and now with Chelsea, I've felt pretty good on both occasions. It doesn't bother me to play against my previous club or old friends, it motivates me.”
He added on going head-to-head with Argentina superstar Messi: “If I am lucky enough to play, it's true that we are positioned in nearby areas of the pitch, stopping him will be difficult but I will try to do everything possible so that he feels uncomfortable and can't put together a perfect performance.
“I see him as a rival who wants to win, and I want the same thing. We are in different teams and each player wants what is best for their own club. Obviously, you always have respect for each other.”
It could be that Fabregas gets the opportunity to become a Chelsea hero in midweek, but the 30-year-old World Cup winner is reluctant to be drawn on how he would react to finding the target,
He said: “Honestly, I haven't thought about it at all. I've only scored two goals this season and it's been a while since my last goal.
“There are feelings at such a moment that you can't predict, I can't definitively say I won't celebrate, but it's unlikely I would.
“I don't think I'll get many chances due to the position I play, what [Antonio Conte] asks of me is different to others. You never know in football and I hope it can happen, but I haven't thought about it.”
While Fabregas doubts that he will be the match-winner for Chelsea against Barca, he is confident that progress to the quarter-finals can be secured.
He added: “That has to be the mentality with which we go into this match.
“We can't start at the Camp Nou with a negative mindset, it must be the opposite, we have to enjoy this big match.”