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Neymar targeting more happy Bernabeu memories

Neymar is relishing the chance to create more happy memories at the Santiago Bernabeu after declaring himself fully fit for Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League last-16 second leg with Real Madrid.

The Brazil international spent four seasons with Madrid’s bitter rivals Barcelona before joining PSG in 2017, winning eight trophies – including the European Cup in 2014-15 – during his time in Spain.

In 11 appearances against Los Blancos with PSG and Barca, he has found the net three times, two of those goals coming at the Bernabeu, including in a 4-0 LaLiga victory for the Catalans in November 2015.

Neymar had been considered a significant doubt for the first leg with Madrid three weeks ago, but he made his return from a near-three-month injury lay-off to play the final 17 minutes of his side’s 1-0 victory in Paris.

Having started PSG’s three league matches since then, the 30-year-old is ready to make an impact in Wednesday’s return fixture in the Spanish capital.

Neymar said at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday:

“I feel 100 per cent fit, My injury lay-off was longer than expected, and it was a very tough injury to recover from.

“But I’m 100 per cent mentally and physically ready to help the team, help my teammates and play a great game.

“It’s a match where you have to all be ready.

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Neymar targeting more happy Bernabeu memories

“I had targeted this fixture for my return. It’s a game that the players want to play. You have to enjoy every minute of these games. These are minutes that will not be repeated.

“I focused, and I worked to help the team. I’m going to give everything and do everything tomorrow. You have to have a solid mentality to play a great game.

“I have a lot of good memories at this ground. I have scored goals and made assists here. Playing here is always special and not just for me.”

Neymar is not the only former Barca player set to feature at the Bernabeu, with fellow forward Lionel Messi also expected to start against a team he inflicted several painful defeats on across 17 years in the Blaugrana’s first team.

Neymar said:

“It’s a special match for Lionel and me because we played at Barca.

“We are motivated. We want to play well tomorrow and to make some history for PSG.

“I feel good to help PSG. We’re ready to play on Wednesday. This is a solid team in front of us, with players with a lot of quality. But we’re not going to give up or hide. We’re going to give everything to try to win the game.

“I’m happy to play, and I’m sure my teammates have the ambition to play and go home with a victory.”

Kylian Mbappe’s late strike at the Parc des Princes leaves PSG as slight favourites heading into the second leg. Still, the visitors have been eliminated from three of their eight Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg.

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Neymar targeting more happy Bernabeu memories

Only Barcelona (four) and Madrid (six) have a worse record, while PSG has won just one of their previous five away games against Los Blancos in European competition.

Neymar added:

“The final being in Paris is incredible for us.

“It makes us want to reach the final even more, more than ever. But we have to start on Wednesday. We’ve been working for a long time, and Wednesday is a step towards our goal.

“It’s a match between PSG and Real, which is always 50-50. There are no favourites as they are two strong teams.

“We have an advantage after winning 1-0 in the first leg, but we must think about playing even better.

“We have to attack and defend together. These can help us win the Champions League if we play together. If we play together, we have the possibility of winning the match, but not only that.”

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Neymar targeting more happy Bernabeu memories
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