Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo juggles with a ball during a training session on April 15, 2019 at the Continassa training center in Torino, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg football match Juventus vs Ajax Amsterdam. Marco Bertorello / AFP
Manchester United have asked for a number of measures to be put in place for their Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona at the Nou Camp after Chelsea complained of ‘brutality’ towards their fans by Spanish stewards last season.
The number of search lanes at the famous venue has been significantly increased to avoid congestion before the game today, and there will be more observers from United, the FA and UEFA to look out for any potential flashpoints. The Manchester United Supporters Trust issued a statement, saying: ‘Following the accusations of improper conduct and alleged unprovoked attacks on fans of other English clubs by Barcelona stewards, MUST has worked with the club to try and ensure our fans have a better experience.
‘Recent communication and planning helped ensure our trips to cities such as Seville, Paris and Turin – where other English fans had been subjected to bad treatment – passed more favourably.‘MUST gathered information from other English supporter groups as well as other European fan groups. These were passed to United in advance of their visit to Barcelona and have resulted in better planning.
‘Outcomes include 25 search lanes for our fans instead of the usual five. These will be monitored by increased numbers of observers from United, the FA and UEFA.
Their Champions League hopes remain in the balance but there were no signs of nerves during Juventus’ training session yesterday. Cristiano Ronaldo hitched a piggyback ride on Blaise Matuidi and the players appeared relaxed on a sunny afternoon in Turin. The Portuguese striker and his team-mates undertook a few team-building drills on the eve of their second leg against Ajax.
Massimiliano Allegri watched on and will be optimistic his side can advance to the Champions League semi-final. The Italians managed an away goal through Ronaldo in the first leg in Amsterdam but will be wary of the threat posed by their opponents, particularly after the Dutch side dumped out Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Ronaldo was the hero in the last round with a hat-rick against Atletico Madrid and he is the man plenty of supporters will pin their hopes on.