Thiago Silva says Paris Saint-Germain are targeting a win against Barcelona, he expects Lionel Messi to start and that he is ‘Barca’s number one fan’.
PSG head out to Catalonia this midweek for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Barca, with a 2-2 first leg score-line recorded and the disadvantage of two away goals against to contend with.
There were slight doubts over Silva’s availability for the clash that the French must win, but in looking forward to the game, the defender has affirmed his fitness.
“Yes I’m fine, I’m ready to play, I have no problem. I finished the Barca game with a knee problem and it is nothing serious,” the Brazilian told Mundo Deportivo in an interview published today.
“We only value a victory to progress to the next round, so we have to defend well and play with personality when we have the ball. With the attackers that we have, we can do damage.
“Barca are always favourite, whoever they play against and whatever the result. They are a team that has earned respect for their football and for everything that they have won in recent years.
“For me they are the best team in the world. I see a passion to their football, I enjoy watching them play and now unfortunately we face them and one of our clubs must be eliminated.
“I hope we do not spoil our dream, which is to qualify for the next round.”
Barcelona go into the fixture with doubts over Messi’s availability, following a thigh injury sustained in the first leg last week in Paris.
“I do not know if he will play or not, but he is very difficult to mark because he is very fast, carries the ball as if glued to his feet and the truth is that if he does not play, it will be a relief to me, but not because I will be facing Villa, Pedro, who will play instead…
“Barca not only has the best player in the world but also the best team.
“I believe they have a bigger problem with Puyol and Mascherano absent than they do with Messi, even if Leo is not yet confirmed.
“They have to improvise and at the back that is a bit complicated, but Barca are always Barca.
“I have been working with the idea that Messi will play. We do not know if he will play or not. He is used to playing in every game and he scores in them all, so as much as he can, he will certainly not want to miss a game as important as this.”
Silva revealed last week that he did receive an offer to join Barcelona last summer, but had already given his word to Leonardo, PSG’s sporting director.
“There were important conversations with my agent, but we had given our word to Leonardo, who I already knew from Milan.
“Once you give your word, you can hardly turn back. But you never know what can happen in the future. People can dream.
“I have always followed Barca, since as a child, when they had Romario, Rivaldo, Ronaldo…I’m a number one fan of that team and the moment that they are going through.
“After Wednesday’s contest I will continue following them. Now I am happy at PSG, and I hope to continue helping in this project.
“Do I have a buyout clause? I have just got here, I am not thinking about it, my representative takes care of that.
“But people know that you can solve things bureaucratically. When you sign a contract you are thinking of complying, but that depends on many things.”