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Old "friends" meet as Barcelona plays Inter Milan
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There will be plenty of reunions when reigning European champion FC Barcelona kicks off this season's European campaign away to Inter Milan on Wednesday night.

First of all, Barcelona sold striker Samuel Eto'o to Inter over the summer. The Cameroon international, who scored the opening goal in last season's Champions League final, went to Italy as part of the deal that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovich move to Barcelona in one of the most expensive transfers of the summer.

Meanwhile left back Maxwell also moved from the San Siro to join the Catalan team in a deal worth 5 million euros.

Finally Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho used to work on the Barcelona coaching staff after arriving with Sir Bobby Robson in 1996.

Mourinho became unpopular with Barcelona fans while coaching Chelsea following a game that Barcelona won in Stamford Bridge after the Chelsea defender Asier del Horno had been sent off.

Meanwhile Barcelona moved to the top of the Primera Liga in Spain last weekend with a comfortable 2-0 away win in Getafe.

That game saw coach Pep Guardiola rest Thierry Henry, who spent the entire match on the substitutes' bench, while Dani Alves and Leo Messi came on as second half substitutes and Messi scored the second goal of the match.

They will all start in Milan, while Andres Iniesta will be on the bench as he continues his return to full fitness.

"It will be very hard to beat us this season if we play the same way and repeat the things we did last season," said Messi in the magazine France Football.

Wednesday's match promises to be the most difficult of the entire group stage for Barcelona. They key for the Catalans will be stopping a highly motivated Eto'o, who has found his form quickly in Italy.

(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2009)

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