Malouda has, nevertheless, largely been a disappointment since his £13.5 million move from Lyon to Stamford Bridge two years ago, when he was French player of the year and in demand having also helped his country reach the World Cup Final, and has scored just nine times in 77 games.
Related ArticlesBosingwa: I don't fear MessiBarcelona v ChelseaDaily Bung: Messi just the leading man in cast of starsPaper View: Chelsea set for Messi and CoPep Guardiola: ProfileCatalans love to hate ChelseaInjuries have not helped, adding to a lack of confidence and a struggle to settle. 'It's always difficult, especially when you play in the English league, if you have a fitness problem,' Malouda said.
'I started the season really well, then had a few problems physically and I had to fix them. It was hard, but I kept on working every day in training. Now you can see the results. I'm happy to play for football because I have the opportunity to play in great games like this match.'
Having been brought back into the team by Luiz Felipe Scolari, Malouda lost his place but has been reinstated by Guus Hiddink and has flourished of late, scoring in the FA Cup semi-final victory over Arsenal. Tonight's game also, he said, represents a clash of styles even if Hiddink has pledged that Chelsea will be bold and attack.
'I think everybody enjoys the way Barcelona play their football,' Malouda said. 'They have offensive football, scoring a lot of goals, but I think to play that football all their players have to work really hard.
"There is a contrast in our styles. Barcelona play a very technical game, very quick passing and maybe we are a bit more direct. People talk. We have players who can make a difference, too. It's about who expresses himself at the right time.
"There will be periods in the game where they dominate, and others where we dominate the ball. But it's about who makes the most of those chances.'