Barcelona, Clubs, Juventus, Story, UEFA Champions League

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Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has said Barcelona, not his team, are favourites to win the Champions League.

The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and three successive victories in the tournament this season have seen Juve tipped as winners after two final defeats in the last four years.

The first came against Barcelona in Berlin in 2015, and Allegri believes the La Liga champions will again be the team to beat.

“Barcelona are No. 1 candidates — just look at the way they play,” he told a news conference on Friday.

“I feel I am coach of a side who can win it, but you can’t take it for granted that we will. We are among the top four candidates, but we need to keep calm.”

Earlier this week, Allegri said winning the Champions League was his priority and “the only thing that can improve us” after seven straight Serie A titles.

“In March a different Champions League starts, and that is when you need a bit of luck because the Champions League is a competition that gets decided by minor incidents,” he said.

“I’m sure we’ll see Barca going all the way to the end.”

Juve host Manchester United on Wednesday, when a win would book their place in the round of 16 with two games to spare.

However, Allegri said he was more concerned about their forthcoming league game against Cagliari on Saturday.

“All I am asking my team is to win it,” he said. “We saw against Empoli that no game is easy, while for everybody who faces us, the Juve game is always a big one.

“We need to win and not drop any points because Napoli and Inter are there. Cagliari are tough opponents and we need to win it and prepare well for Wednesday.”

Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Bernardeschi are out of Saturday’s Allianz Stadium clash, but Sami Khedira and Mario Mandzukic are both in the squad.

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