Mascherano: I have a lot of respect for Benfica

The Argentina international spoke highly of his side's Champions League opponents ahead of their clash in Lisbon, and warned that a tough match awaits the Blaugrana in Portugal
Barcelona's Javier Mascherano is of the opinion that Tito Vilanova's men have a hard task at their hands when they visit Estadio Da Luz on Tuesday to take on Benfica in Europe's elite club tournament.

The versatile 28-year-old warned that their opponents will be tough to beat at home and insisted his team is not distracted by the Clasico on Saturday.

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"I have a lot of respect for Benfica because I’ve had a first hand experience of what it’s like to suffer here," the Argentine told Barcelona's official website.

“I know how difficult it is to come to this stadium and secure a good result. Both matches [against Benfica and Real Madrid] are important but the match against Benfica is more important because we have to face them sooner.

"We’ll have enough time to focus on the Clasico," he said.

Finally, the Argentine had words of praise for summer signing Alex Song.

“He’s done a great job in the short time that he’s been here. I’m sure that as time goes on we’ll get to see much more of his qualities.

"He comes from a team that’s managed by a demanding manager, where they employ similar concepts to ours.”

Barcelona kick-off their match against Benfica at Estadio Da Luz at 20:45CET.