Napoli full-back Ivan Strinic has vowed to get revenge on behalf of Diego Maradona by knocking Real Madrid out of the Champions League.
Maurizio Sarri’s side finished top of Group B, but have been handed a tough tie with the holders in the last 16 of the competition.
The meeting will be the first between the sides since the opening round of the 1987-88 tournament, when a Napoli outfit featuring the legendary Maradona were beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Madrid, who went on to lose the semi-final to eventual champions PSV.
The Italians lost the first game 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu, before a 1-1 draw at the San Paolo – which Maradona missed – confirmed Madrid’s passage to the next round.
And Strinic is determined to make amends for Napoli’s failure 19 years ago, telling Sportske Novosti: “We will avenge Maradona. We will do against Real what Diego didn’t manage to do.
“We will be tough, we are aware how good Real are, but we are playing very well. If we were to face Real next week, I would be very optimistic. But who knows how both Real and us will be by then.”
Strinic is prepared for a tough battle with Ballon d’Or-winner Cristiano Ronaldo but he suggested that Croatia team-mate Luka Modric could be equally important to Madrid’s chances.
“Ronaldo is amazing, but why don’t you ask me how do we plan to stop Modric?” he said.
The first leg takes place in the Spanish capital on February 15.
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