Luis Muriel believes that Atalanta have it in them to pull off a Champions League upset against 13-time champions Real Madrid on Wednesday.
The reigning Spanish champions visit Bergamo for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie with a number of important players out injured, and La Dea will be doing all they can to record yet another memorable European victory.
“It’s always prestigious to play against Real Madrid,” Muriel said at the pre-match press conference. “You have to give everything against them. With Sevilla I beat them 3-2.
“If we believe in ourselves and our strengths, then we can win against anyone. If we play as we know we can, we can compete at the highest level.
“We have a strong identity. But the coach doesn’t make us do just one thing. We’ve scored a lot of goals thanks to individuals, and we always play our own individual games when there’s the chance to.”
Despite their injury crisis, Los Blancos travel to Bergamo in good form, and Muriel knows that they still pose a threat to anyone, even when they appear to be vulnerable.
“It would have been crazy to not watch their recent games,” Muriel said. “We have to be careful and understand the team we’re facing.
“Their injuries don’t stop them from being a great team, so we’ll have to give our best. I don’t think the injuries change anything.
“They’ve won their last few matches and their history is clear – when they don’t play well in La Liga, they pull the rabbit out of the hat in the Champions League. It’s a game against a great team.”
Explaining that happiness is his “life’s philosophy”, Muriel couldn’t help but admit disappointment that the game would be played at an empty stadium.
“It takes a lot away from us,” Muriel said, asked about the absence of fans. “Their inability to attend these huge events is a great disappointment for the fans, and these moments have to be shared with them.
“They were there, right beside the team, for so many years when the club were fighting for less prestigious places.
“I’m sorry to play without the fans. We hope we can have them with us again soon.”
Coach Gian Piero Gasperini also spoke ahead of the game.