Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic is reluctant to accept his team-mates are favourites to overcome Arsenal in the last-16 of the Champions League.
Croatia midfielder Rakitic was on target in last season’s final triumph over Juventus, part of a Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble in a stellar first year in charge for coach Luis Enrique.
Boasting an eight-point advantage in their domestic league and having booked a Copa final place against Sevilla, Barca are on course to repeat the feat this season.
Nevertheless, Rakitic is immediately concerned with a showdown against Premier League opponents he holds in the highest regard.
“There is no need to talk about favourites,” he told a pre-match press conference. “Arsenal are one of the best teams in history.
“We have to play well to get a good result but we will also rely on the second leg.”
Barcelona’s chances of securing back-to-back trebles are bolstered by the phenomenal exploits of dazzling forward trio Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
“Having this front three fills me with pride,” Rakitic added. “The rest of us do what we can to make them better.
“We are living in a sweet moment. Of course we want to repeat the last year, but we know it’s hard. You have to go step by step”