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Balotelli: I Would Play In Goal To Win CL

AC Milan striker, Mario Balotelli, says he would ‘play in goal’ if it meant winning the Champions League as his side prepares to host Atletico Madrid in their Champions League last-16 tie tonight.

Balotelli has never scored in the Champions League knockout stage, but is eager to change this record when the struggling Rossonieri host the joint La Liga leader at San Siro tonight.

"Maybe I've not scored in the knockout stages yet, but I've not had much of a chance really,” the Italy forward said.

"I'm a centre forward, but if to win the Champions League I've got to play in goal, then I'll play in goal."

Milan coach, Clarence Seedorf, meanwhile, has put the pressure on Atletico Madrid, whom he believes are ‘in every aspect’ ahead of the current Milan side.

"They've always been a well-organised side who know what they want and have been at this level for two years now, so we have great respect for them,” the Dutchman said.

“We're up against a side who are ahead of us in every aspect, but the Champions League is something else.

“I've seen lots of Champions League games featuring sides who are having difficulties [domestically], yet they get good results so we do have a bit of faith, although we know we've got to play a great game.

"Obviously this game has a different importance to our other games. We've been building up to this one.”

Seedorf is the only player who won the Champions League with three different clubs, but the game is his first international as a coach. However, he insisted the game is ‘very special’ for Milan, which struggle in Seria A, but have won the Champions League seven times.

“It's very special as it's the most important club tournament in the world. It has the best players on the field with the best clubs participating,” Seedorf added.

"We're delighted to be competing for Milan and for Italy, and we want to remain on course for the Champions League this season."

His counterpart, Diego Simeone, meanwhile, tried to play down the broad opinion that his in-form side are the favourites against the struggling Italians.

“I do not believe in ‘favourites,’” the Argentine said.

“You see that on the pitch. We have to play a good game, to be concentrated in the tie.

“Italian teams take games in stages. A lot of what we do in the game will be reliant on the concentration we have in the play.”

While Milan have to replace their two suspended central midfielders, Riccardo Montolivo as well as Sulley Muntari, and there remain question marks over the availability of Kaka, Atletico can recall goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, and forward, David Villa, to the starting XI.

But Simeone still expects Milan to be at their best, and is wary of the Italians counter-attacking and set-piece qualities.

“They have players who can be deadly on the counter. Milan also have good height at set-pieces. I expect Milan at their best,” he added.

Which of the two sides can get an important result in their last-16 tie tonight? Have your say in the comment section below.

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