Barcelona play "most important match of the season" against Napoli

For more reasons than one, Barcelona need to get past Napoli in the Champions League


Barcelona know the importance of their Champions League round of 16 second leg match against Napoli. Xavi Hernandez is aware of it and so are the players.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen said as much during the pre-match press conference.

"It is not a good time to talk about that," Ter Stegen said when asked about Hansi Flick. "He is a great person, we value him a lot, especially the Germans in the national team. But it is not the day to talk about Flick or anything else. You don't like the answer, but tomorrow we surely play the most important match of the season."

Ter Stegen is right; in more ways than one.

This is the first time Barcelona has been in the round of 16 of the Champions League since the 2021-22 season where they went out against PSG. It's also the first time they've progressed past the group stage since Lionel Messi left.

Getting to the quarterfinals is important both in a sporting and, perhaps more importantly, in a financial sense.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona stand to gain 15 million euros should they get past Napoli. Of that amount, 10.6 million is what they receive from UEFA for making it to the quarterfinals and the rest is what they could make by playing another match at home.

Given their financial situation, it would be a significant amount of revenue to lose out on.

While Barcelona only mustered a 1-1 draw in the first leg, they did play better than Napoli and arguably should have won the match had they been more clinical.

To pull out a result, not only will they need to have their scoring boots on, they'll need to minimize the defensive mistakes which they were able to do so until the equalizer.

"We defended really well in Naples. They created very few chances," Ter Stegen said. "In fact, there was only one really clear one and that's the only one they scored from. This Tuesday we have to make sure they don't get any."

With the exception of Alejandro Balde, Barcelona will be near full strength in defense. The same can't be said, however, in attack.

Barcelona were hopeful in possibly recovering Ferran Torres for the match. It was thought he could have made his return against Mallorca last Friday but that wasn't the case. Then the target date was set for the Napoli match. But he did not participate in Monday's training thus ruling him out altogether.

Despite the injuries, Barcelona have to feel good about their chances given Napoli aren't at their best this season. The Serie A side also played their league fixture last Friday and only managed a 1-1 draw against Torino.

At the same time, Barcelona have had their own struggles against, even against the bottom table LaLiga side, so they cannot underestimate any opponent.

"It's the most important game of the season so far," Xavi said. "We are really up for it. It has been a while since we reached the quarterfinals, so it's a huge opportunity.


There is a desire to do well and to compete against a great opponent, Napoli have not been in best form but the base is the same as the side that made them Italian champions last year. I hope it will be a magical night."