Wednesday February 20 2013
Rosell: 'Balotelli tried to join Barca'

Barcelona President Sandro Rosell is worried about facing Milan, admires Stephan El Shaarawy and revealed that Mario Balotelli “tried to join us many times.”

Tonight the Champions League Round of 16 first leg tie will be played at San Siro, kicking off at 19.45 GMT.

“I am not at all relaxed ahead of this evening, as playing against Milan is always difficult,” Rosell told Sky Sport Italia.

“The Rossoneri have an important history, while we have an excellent rapport with their directors. I think nothing will be decided tonight, as it will all go down to the Camp Nou game.”

Balotelli is cup-tied after featuring in this tournament with Manchester City, so cannot take part in the game.

“I don’t know if his absence is a good thing for us, as it depends on who takes his place,” continued Rosell.

“Balotelli tried to join us many times at Barcelona and I don’t know if he’d play well against a team he tried to join for many years. I compliment Milan on having signed him.”

The Barcelona President did not specify when these approaches were made, whether during his time at Inter or Manchester City.

El Shaarawy is expected to start after shaking off a knee problem and has been linked with Europe’s top clubs.

“I couldn’t say if Barcelona liked him, but on a personal level I certainly do. However, that does not mean we want to sign him, because negotiating with Adriano Galliani and Umberto Gandini is very complicated.”