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Thursday, December 6, 2012
Puyol hoping to face Milan

Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Carles Puyol says AC Milan are his preferred opponent in this season's Champions League last-16 games.

After Barca completed their Group G programme with a shaky 0-0 draw against Benfica at the Camp Nou, club captain Puyol said he was not worried about the draw but fancied taking on the Serie A side more than other possible opponents Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, Porto and Galatasaray.

"I do not mind who our next rival is," Puyol told reporters. "(But) you know that I like to play against Milan, because I admire that team."

Puyol has happy memories of four clashes against the Rossoneri last season, with Barca taking four points from their two group-stage meetings and then overcoming Massimiliano Allegri's team 3-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.

Barca will learn the identity of their next opponents in December 20's draw, with the first legs scheduled for February 12 and 13 and return games to be played February 19 or 20.

Puyol said a lot could happen between now and then, and his side would be concentrating on maintaining their Primera Division lead and progressing in the Copa del Rey.

"There is a long time until those games and we need to keep doing our own work," Puyol said. "It could be that a team which is strong now will not be strong then, or the other way around. For now we have to focus on the Copa and La Liga."

Barca cannot face fellow Spanish sides Valencia and Real Madrid, or Group G runners-up Celtic, in the next round.

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