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Although they face a difficult task at Camp Nou tomorrow evening, Olympique Lyonnais’ Brazilian central defender Cris believes that his side are playing for the future of their season.

Eliminated in the Coupe de France last Wednesday by Lille and sent crashing from the Coupe de la Ligue by Ligue 2 Metz before 2009 had even started, Olympique Lyonnais have only two competitions on which to base their hopes of silverware this season. On Wednesday, OL’s Champions League future is under threat from Barcelona, whom it is likely they will have to beat in Catalonia if they are to progress to the quarter-final stage.

Les Gones powerful Brazilian central defender Cris has even asserted that the whole success and failure of the Stade Gerland club’s season could be based upon Wednesday evening’s result.

“Our season would be almost finished if we lost on Wednesday,” he noted to local paper Le Progres. “We would only have the league championship [left to win]. We will only have one game a week. We have been eliminated from both domestic cups and it is hard to take that we have not won one.”

Indeed there appears to be more at stake in the last 16 tie than simply progression in the competition and a successful season. Karim Benzema has intimated that defeat would probably see him leave France in the summer, but Cris is unlikely to take such a drastic recourse.

“I am under contract until 2011,” he pointed out. “I want to go up to that time and then give another two years. I feel very good in Lyon and my family do too.”

The odds appear stacked against Lyon to qualify, however, they have been boosted by the news that both Karim Benzema and Jean-Alain Boumsong will be fit to play.

Robin Bairner, Goal.com

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