PSG scalp first step toward European glory for Madrid
Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas believes defeating Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday will be a significant step towards lifting the Champions League for the 10-time winners.
Madrid could seal their place in the last 16 and take a huge step towards topping the group should they inflict the French champions first defeat of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“We all want to win the Champions League, it’s one of our goals,” the Costa Rica international told Madrid’s website.
“We’re trying to prepare as well as possible for every game so as to get to the final and win it, but we have to take it step by step because we still have to get through important games in the group stage and in the knockout stages.
“We’re putting our heart and soul into reaching the final and winning it.”
Navas has arguably been Madrid’s player of the season so far in keeping nine clean sheets in 12 appearances.
The former Levante ‘keeper missed Saturday’s 3-1 win over Las Palmas due to a minor muscle injury, but is expected to return along with captain Sergio Ramos to face PSG.
However, Madrid are set to be without a host of first-team regulars with Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema all unlikely to be risked by Rafael Benitez.
PSG were criticised for their tepid display against an under-strength Real in a 0-0 draw at the Parc des Princes two weeks ago.
Yet, captain Thiago Silva believes playing away from home could benefit Laurent Blanc’s side as they will have more space to exploit the Madrid defence on the counter-attack.
“I think we will play better in Madrid than we did in Paris,” he told the club’s website.
“At the Parc des Princes, we were obliged to win because we were playing at home. Real will feel obliged to win the return, so our attackers can perhaps take advantage of a little more space.”
If PSG are to pull off arguably their most significant win since Qatar Sports Investments took charge of the club in 2012, long-term Madrid target Marco Verratti will be pivotal in midfield.
And the Italian admitted the match is virtually a playoff for top spot in Group A with both sides having taken maximum points from their games with Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo so far.
“Without a doubt it will be a decisive match, because, even if there are still two games to follow in the group, the side that gets the best result will be in a good position to finish top of the group,” he said.
Brazilian defender Marquinhos and playmaker Javier Pastore have failed to make the trip to the Spanish capital due to a hamstring injury and conjunctivitis respectively.
David Luiz has been included in Blanc’s 21-man squad but is doubtful having failed to feature since suffering a knee injury on international duty with Brazil three weeks ago.