Dani Carvajal says the Champions League is always Real Madrid’s priority and is aware of the team are obligated to put in a strong challenge for the trophy every year.
Rafael Benitez’s men begin their 2015-16 campaign with a home tie against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday as they look to add to their record-breaking 10 European titles.
Madrid suffered defeat to Juventus in last year’s semi-final as part of a campaign where they failed to win a major trophy, leading to the sacking of head coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Carvajal is set to play from the start against Shakhtar, with his rival for selection at right-back Danilo out with a foot injury, and said on Monday: “The Champions League is the most important competition at club level and Real Madrid is the best club. While we may not be obliged to win it, we know we must least be in the running to challenge for it.
“We want to treat our fans to our first three points in the Champions League. All of us are really looking forward to this game. Everyone knows what this means, and we are starting off at home. We will be up against a great rival.”
The 23-year-old was also full of praise for new head coach Benitez after Real went through their first three La Liga matches without conceding a goal.
“He is very keen on working on all of the defensive aspects of the team,” added Carvajal. “We have not conceded any goals in the first few games of the league. What is important is making sure we are united when we have the ball, I think it is a strategy which will bring us a lot of points.
Carvajal also made himself the latest Real player to heap praise on talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer in La Liga after his stunning five-goal haul in Saturday’s 6-0 away victory over Espanyol.
“Anyone who plays football knows that it is not easy to score five goals in one game,” he continued.
“None of the teams we play are pushovers and everyone knows that we play in the best league in the world. Cristiano is the best player in the world and he will show it.”