Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva believes the reigning Ligue 1 champions are ready to step up and claim Champions League glory.
For the third consecutive season, PSG will face Chelsea in the knockout stages – the Parc des Princes playing host to the first leg on Tuesday.
Thanks to an extra-time goal from Thiago Silva, Laurent Blanc’s men were victorious at the same last-16 stage last season after bowing out in the quarter-finals to the London club in the previous campaign.
PSG lost 5-1 on aggregate to eventual winners Barcelona in the last eight last term but Thiago Silva feels they are not too far away from being able to stake a claim for the top prize.
“As captain of the team I say we are close and ready to win,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “We know that it is possible although, obviously, we also know that it is not easy.
“But I have a lot of confidence that PSG has the quality to go all the way. I know the quality of this team, I am very proud of this team. We can do it.
“It’s a magnificent draw because I think we already know this team, Chelsea, quite well
“They have got a lot of Brazilian players, it’s not far from Paris and there is already the rivalry.”
PSG are runaway leaders in Ligue 1 this year, building a virtually unassailable lead of 24 points, and Thiago Silva believes this could be a problem when they re-enter the cauldron of top-level European competition.
“It is difficult,” he says. “When you are accustomed to winning, when you are used to winning, then afterwards you tend not to have the same level of concentration.
“Sometimes you go into the games thinking you have already won because you are so strong. But we will stay strong because we have not yet won the Champions League.
“We have not succeeded in winning the one we are dreaming of. And I think that it is why we will continue to keep winning. Everyone says that Paris is strong but we need to show our strong face to Europe, to the world.
“If we don’t win the Champions League and keep winning in France then people will say ‘they are not ready to win it yet’. But, as captain, I say we are ready.
“I can see in the players’ faces that they are hungry for victory, for success. And they really want to make history for this club. So we are ready.”