NPR logo Barcelona Kicks Off Quest For Consecutive Champions League Titles

International

Barcelona Kicks Off Quest For Consecutive Champions League Titles

Barcelona's Gerard Pique (left) and Neymar (wearing headband) celebrate with the trophy after the Champions League final soccer match between Juventus Turin and FC Barcelona in June. i

Barcelona's Gerard Pique (left) and Neymar (wearing headband) celebrate with the trophy after the Champions League final soccer match between Juventus Turin and FC Barcelona in June. Frank Augstein/AP hide caption

toggle caption Frank Augstein/AP
Barcelona's Gerard Pique (left) and Neymar (wearing headband) celebrate with the trophy after the Champions League final soccer match between Juventus Turin and FC Barcelona in June.

Barcelona's Gerard Pique (left) and Neymar (wearing headband) celebrate with the trophy after the Champions League final soccer match between Juventus Turin and FC Barcelona in June.

Frank Augstein/AP

Updated 5:25 p.m. ET

After beating Italian club Juventus to win the Champions League title last season, today FC Barcelona began its quest to defend its title as the best soccer team in Europe.

But in what felt like an upset, the defending champs drew with Italian club AS Roma 1-1 in the opening game of its Champions League campaign. The game's two goals came from Barcelona's star forward Luis Suarez and a long-range strike from Roma's Alessandro Florenzi.

Barcelona is aiming to become the first club to win the prestigious European tournament back-to-back since AC Milan defended its title in 1990. It's next game will be Tuesday, Sept. 29 against German club Bayer Leverkusen.

Before today's match, Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique brushed off the excitement swirling around his star-studded squad, saying that the team wasn't focused on the possibility of consecutive titles.

"We'll try to do it, but it's not pressure but quite the opposite," he was quoted as saying by Reuters. "When the ball starts to move there are no champions and no favorites but 32 teams who want to win the title."

"The goal of winning a second consecutive Champions League does not bring added pressure," Enrique said during a news conference Tuesday. "It's a marvelous incentive worthy of all the Barca family and the team."

Following a year that saw the Catalan club hoist a trio of trophies for winning the Champions League, La Liga Spain's professional soccer league, and the Cope del Rey, it's no surprise that Barcelona is feeling confident.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.