Dare Celtic dream of success in Barcelona?

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi are expected to face Celtic on Tuesday
Barcelona have star names in every department of the pitch

Freddie Mercury sang "I had this perfect dream" in his operatic soundtrack to the 1992 Olympic Games.

And while Mercury's Barcelona describes an alluring "jewel in the sun", a footballing conquest in this city can also be viewed in that light.

Victory is not something that comes to many visitors to the theatrical Camp Nou, something Celtic are hunting when they tread a now familiar track to the home of the star-studded FC Barcelona in their Champions League opener.

Indeed, it will be the Scottish champions' sixth trip here in just over 12 years.

The size of the task remains as formidable as ever against a club that has won five European Champions Cups, four of which have come within the last 11 seasons.

This Barca side continues to shine in the most glittering period of its history.

But, if Celtic are to upset all of the odds, perhaps now is the time to do so going by the most recent of examples.

Deportivo Alaves returned to the top table of Spanish football this summer after an 11-season absence from La Liga, a spell which included four campaigns in the third tier.

Their resurrection hit new heights with a 2-1 victory at Camp Nou on Saturday around the time Celtic were humiliating neighbours Rangers.

The odds of an Alaves victory were around 25-1, with bookmakers offering about the same for a Celtic success on Tuesday.

Barcelona 'annoyed'

"I would like to never lose," said manager Luis Enrique. "This team has had two years (of success) beyond any doubt, but that doesn't mean we can't lose.

"We will try to change that, but we are not interested in the past.

"The team has reacted well. They are obviously annoyed because we don't like and are not accustomed to losing at home.

"We have the shortest turnaround you can have between games. The players are rested and desperate to compete and play again in the Camp Nou in a competition that excites us."

Yet, Barca were beaten. At home. By a newly promoted side.

Star-man Lionel Messi - who missed both meetings with Celtic in 2013 - is battling back from a groin injury and may not start.

Andres Iniesta - Spain's most decorated footballer - has only just returned after injuring his knee during the Spanish Super Cup win over Sevilla.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique
Enrique is impressed by the work done by Celtic boss Rodgers

Neymar is just back from the Olympics where he helped Brazil win gold, playing his first club game of the season in Saturday's loss.

There also remains uncertainty over Enrique's own future with his contract due to expire at the end of the season and talks postponed until the winter.

It could be seen as straw-grabbing.

Respect for Rodgers

But Celtic are an opponent 'Blaugrana' are not taking lightly, with Enrique talking warmly of opposite number Brendan Rodgers.

"I like Rodgers as a coach; he likes to take the game to the opposition and you can see that already in his short time at Celtic," said Enrique.

"He loves good football, he likes to take the burden of the initiative.

"They have made good signings and I'm worried about some of the Celtic players - [Moussa] Dembele, [Scott] Sinclair, [Patrick] Roberts - they can give us problems.

"We will have to overcome high pressure and circulate the ball well."

Whilst that perfect dream is alive, there are red flags, some more obvious than others.

Barcelona haven't lost a Champions League game at home since 2013 when Bayern Munich trounced them in the semi finals.

Neymar (right) scored a hat-trick in Celtic's last visit to Barcelona
Neymar (right) scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 win when Celtic last visited Barcelona

They haven't lost two home games in a row over 90 minutes since 1998.

They were beaten in the preceding league match last time they faced the Scottish champions, before inflicting a record-equalling 6-1 defeat on the Parkhead club.

Superstar trio back together

Messi, Neymar and Rodgers' old Liverpool talisman Luis Suarez could play together for the first time this season on Tuesday. Those three have scored 255 goals in 302 combined appearances since the Uruguayan joined his prolific peers.

Spanish World Cup winner Gerard Pique and international colleague Jordi Alba - who scored a late winner against Neil Lennon's Celtic here in 2012 - are also ready to return to the fold.

Mercury also spoke of a 'miracle sensation.'

Can Celtic experience one of European football's rarest of tastes for themselves in Catalonia?

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