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Moment to make mark, says Barcelona's Rijkaard

Written by: Staff
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MADRID, Apr 17 (Reuters) Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard feels it is a time for a changing of the guard as his side gear up for their Champions League semi-final with AC Milan.

''The moment has come for us to make our mark against them,'' Rijkaard was quoted as saying in sports daily Sport today.

''Milan have experience on their side and we have to see how we handle that. There is always a time when you have to test yourself against a team with more success and experience than you and now it has come.

''It is the time for a changing of the guard. If we can beat them, people will start saying in the future we are the side to beat.'' Barcelona moved a step closer to retaining their Primera Liga title on Friday with a 1-0 win over Villarreal, but face their biggest test this season in tomorrow's first leg in Milan.

Rijkaard did not hide his admiration for a side who have reached 10 European Cup finals including two in the last three seasons.

''For 15 years Milan have worked with the same winning philosophy,'' Rijkaard said.

''The systems change as the players change but that basic element is always there and that is why they have been at the top for so long.

''But it is vital we focus exclusively on what we want to do and our own philosophy tomorrow. It is important to score a goal and not to lose.'' Barcelona lost 4-0 to Milan in the 1994 European Cup final and exited at the semi-final stages of the Champions League in 2000 and 2002.

REUTERS PG KN2021

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