Cesc Fabregas' father claims Arsenal have improved and could be a match for Barcelona in Wednesday night’s Champions League clash.
The midfield playmaker’s father has conceded Barcelona were without question the best team in the world, though has warned Arsenal are in much better shape this season.
Speaking to The Mirror, he said: “The games will let us know. I think it will be tough, although Arsenal have improved greatly and have injured players back in action.
"At the moment there is no team anywhere near to Barca. Everyone knows that.
"If we are being realistic, Barca are the best team in the world. But it could be that Barca have two off days and Arsenal have two great days.
“Cesc goes into the game in much better shape than last season. He has a personal coach who has done a great job and we shall see if he can play both games this time.
“Arsenal like to have possession and their counter-attack can be deadly at times. They create chances easily. They play a direct style without putting the ball in the air.”
He also spoke out over some of referee Phil Dowd’s decisions in Arsenal’s recent 4-4 clash with Newcastle. The north Londoners were leading 4-0 at St James' Park, only to concede four goals in the second half.
He said: “With the greatest respect, the referee for the game against Newcastle should be condemned. The red card for [Abou] Diaby ... if he had not lifted his leg off the grass then we could have seen another broken leg.
“He reacted badly by grabbing the other player by the neck, but the other player should have been given a yellow card at least and he received nothing.
“The first penalty was a 50-50 challenge and the referee blew for it. The second penalty, well, I can only say we should not go there."
When questioned again of a possible return for his son to the Nou Camp, where he left to join Arsenal as a 16-year-old, he remained tight-lipped.
“He said everything he had to say very clearly last year,” said Francesc. “He is an Arsenal player at the moment and, for now, there is nothing more to say about that.
“I would say that there is a slight lack of respect to do it just before a knockout tie against Barca - imagine if it was the other way round.
“If Arsenal had an interest in a Barca player they would say it should wait until after the tie.”