Barcelona may be favourites to reach the Champions League semi-finals but Francesco Totti expects Roma to push them all the way.
Roma edged past Shakhtar Donetsk on away goals in the last-16 thanks to Edin Dzeko’s strike at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday, the tie having finished 2-2 on aggregate.
The Italian side were seen as outsiders for the title before the draw, but will now be deemed to have even less of a chance given they need to get past Barca.
Totti is not too downbeat, though, and is confident Roma will push Lionel Messi and his team-mates all the way over the two legs next month.
“I’m happy we are among the eight strongest in Europe,” he told Premium Sport. “They are all difficult, [but] Barcelona will have to sweat to beat Roma.
“We face this challenge with serenity and tranquillity, we know that Barcelona is one of the strongest teams in Europe but we know that we can do well against them too.
“Be assured that they will be worried about facing Roma. We want to show that Roma can compete with Barcelona.
“Everyone expects the passage of Barca’s round but they will find a great Roma.
“If we want to win this competition, we have to face all the strongest teams. Dealing with players like Messi and [Luis] Suarez gives a great stimulus.
“We finished first in a very difficult first round, we [then] faced Shakhtar and we made a positive journey.”
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) March 16, 2018
Roma’s sporting director Monchi was equally as positive as Totti after the draw, despite admitting Barca would start as favourites.
“You cannot say that we were lucky, although when you enter the quarter-finals of the Champions League there are no easy rivals,” he told beIN Sports.
“Barcelona and [Manchester] City are the ones at the highest level of the sport. The favourite is Barca but no one thinks Rome are dead.”
Head coach Eusebio di Francesco added: “We have got on one the strongest teams in the world, with the strongest player in the world in Messi.
“We have come so far playing with courage, determination and application. We will play with enthusiasm and awareness. Forza Roma.”
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