FC Barcelona vs Manchester City Preview: Return of the Catalan hero to the Camp Nou

As Pep Guardiola returns to the Camp Nou, two of the best sides in world football showdown in the UEFA Champions League group stages.

FC Barcelona vs Manchester City Preview: Return of the Catalan hero to the Camp Nou
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More than just a former manager returns to FC Barcelona's magnificent Camp Nou on Wednesday night; Pep Guardiola does so, and the evidence of his former presence at the club is still very clear to see.

Now at his third club, Manchester City, Guardiola is creating a third philosophy for a club to enact, follow, and win with. Barcelona were the first, FC Bayern Munchen the second, and now the Citizens.

It will be a tough fixture for the Catalan's new side, who have settled down after a scintillating start to the season. Last weekend saw Ronald Koeman's Everton hold City to a 1-1 draw as Martin Stekelenburg saved twice from the penalty spot and last time out in the UEFA Champions League, Celtic halted City's 100% record in all competitions in a fantastic 3-3 draw.

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Luis Enrique has been given three consecutive boosts in the injury department, the most notable, of course, the return to fitness of Lionel Messi.  Guardiola was forced to deny claims he attempted to bring Messi to the Premier League this summer, but said it was a "pleasure" to see him fit again.

Both Sergio Roberto and Jordi Alba have overcome late fitness tests and will also be available meaning a very strong side from Enrique on Wednesday night.

For City, the challenge is greater, but only Bacary Sagna and Fabian Delph are unavailable for the tie. Claudio Bravo, signed from Barcelona this summer, is expected to start. Captain Vincent Kompany came on as a substitute against Everton last weekend as he looks for a sustained run of fitness and Kevin de Bruyne, City's most important player this season, is also fit again.

Guardiola and Enrique praise each other's teams

Guardiola said City are against "the best team in the world," but said, for him personally, returning to the Camp Nou is always "something special." He continued to say, "I am very happy to be here and I am grateful to all the players who helped me, and whatever happens to them makes me happy.”

Meanwhile, Luis Enrique suggested that he "can't imagine a better game," for supporters as these two sides match up. With Barcelona having beaten City in recent seasons, Enrique now knows that "it will be more difficult than previous seasons," having seen that City now "play very attractive football."