Former Manchester United defender Gerard Pique has talked down Arsenal’s chances of winning the Champions league this season, with his Barcelona side set to take on the Gunners in the last 16 next month.
The 23-year-old, who failed to hold down a regular starting berth during four years at Old Trafford, is insistent that Barcelona can follow on from last season’s quarter-final defeat of Arsenal and regain the much coveted trophy.
In that 6-3 victory last term, Barca playmaker Lionel Messi put four goals past Arsene Wenger's men in the second leg.
And Spanish international Pique believes that the recently crowned World Player of the Year can work his magic and display his talents on a worldwide stage again.
"Leo is the best in the world. He's hugely important for Barcelona," he said in The Sun.
"When you win titles you can feel that happiness and you really want to have the same feeling again.
"So we have the same hunger for titles like the Champions League two years ago. We're confident of winning against Arsenal."
Along with Messi’s crown, Pique was included in the FIFA World XI alongside six of his Barca team-mates at a prestigious awards ceremony. And he believes these honours can only aid his club's fortunes on and off the pitch.
"These awards give us a tremendous boost to our confidence ahead of the Arsenal games,'' he said. ''We want to win the Champions League again and we are confident we can do it.
"When you see your work is recognised in this way and you are in these type of meetings with so many great players you want to be there every year. You have to work hard and fight to be here. We are ready for that."
By Matt Maltby