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AC Milan keeper Christian Abbiati is not expecting an easy ride in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final, first leg against Barcelona.

The Serie A leaders face Barca for the third time this season after previously meeting in the group stages.

Abbiati is aware of the challenge his team faces against the European Cup holders and favourites, who can call upon a star-studded squad led by Argentina international Lionel Messi.

“I am perfectly aware that I will have in front of me the best player in the world,” Abbiati said. “With a player like him, you can only analyse his free-kicks and penalties as the rest of his game is unpredictable because he is a complete player.”

However, Abbiati stressed that Barca are not a one-man team.

“It’s not going to be a battle between me and Messi,” he said. “Barcelona is not just Messi and hence, we will not only focus on him. They are a complete team.”

Milan have not beaten Barca since October 2004. They did hold the Spaniards to a 2-2 draw in Spain in September, while the Primera Division giants won 3-2 at the San Siro three months later to finish top of Group H.

“In the group stages we played two very good games,” Abbiati said. “We did suffer a little bit in Barcelona.

“Our reference game, besides the result, will be the return leg we played in Milan.”

Abbiati knows his team will have to make the most of their chances to have a chance against Pep Guardiola’s side.

“Barca create 20 goalscoring opportunities per game, hence we will have to be smart and make the most of our chances,” he said.

Former Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will lead Milan’s attack after scoring twice to give Milan a 2-1 win over Roma on Saturday.

A fourth straight win in the league kept Milan four points clear of Juventus at the top of Serie A.

The Italians will have to overcome the absence of injured defenders Thiago Silva and Ignazio Abate, while midfielder Mark van Bommel serves a one-match ban.

However, Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes expects a tough game.

“Despite those absences, they are still a great team,” he said. “They are going through a good spell and they are always dangerous.

“We know that from our previous meetings against them this season.”

Barca have also put together an impressive run of form, winning their last seven league matches in a row to remain six points behind Primera Division leaders Real Madrid.

The Catalan outfit will be bolstered by the return of defender Dani Alves, who missed the clash at Mallorca through suspension.

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri welcomes back defender Alessandro Nesta and winger Robinho from injury.

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