Fabio Cannavaro has implored Real Madrid to ”play smart” in their Champions League first round knockout tie against Liverpool.
The Spanish champions meet the Reds on Wednesday in the first leg at the Bernabeu on the back of a 6-1 thrashing of Real Betis – their ninth successive Primera Liga win under coach Juande Ramos.
They have cut Barcelona’s lead at the top of the table to seven points and boosted morale ahead of the visit of Rafael Benitez’s side.
Italy defender Cannavaro told his club’s website: ”We’re in good form. The team is doing well and it has the fans’ support. We’re up against a historic team that is used to winning the Champions League. We must play smart, score and not concede any goals.”
Cannavaro is likely to come up against Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, a player he respects.
”He’s a player I like very much. He’s gained a lot of confidence playing outside of Spain,” he added. ”He also won the European Championship last summer with Spain. He’s one of Europe’s best strikers.”
Cannavaro also had words of praise for Ramos, who has revived Madrid since he took over from Bernd Schuster.
”The coach is doing a good job, we’ve gone back to being a team,” he said. ”We made many mistakes during the first half of the season because we thought we could win just by wearing this shirt.
”We need to play as a team. That’s what Juande has done.”