Cristiano Ronaldo says Juventus need to “bring their A game” as they begin their quest to reach a first Champions League final in four years.
The Serie A champions progressed as winners of Group G after a 3-0 win over Barcelona at Camp Nou on matchday six.
They begin the knockout phase on Wednesday against Porto, who were the only side to avoid two defeats against Manchester City in Group C.
Porto have failed to beat Juve in five previous European encounters and the Bianconeri are one of only two teams to play the Portuguese giants away at least twice without ever conceding a goal.
Andrea Pirlo’s side have won 11 of their previous 13 Champions League matches, including all three away from home this season, but they come into the contest off the back of a 1-0 league loss to Napoli that leaves them eight points behind leaders Inter, who have played a game more.
Juve have failed to get beyond the quarter-final stage since they last reached the final in 2016-17, when two goals from Ronaldo helped Real Madrid to a 4-1 win in Cardiff.
The 36-year-old is determined to lead Juve back to another final this term as they aim to end a 25-year wait for European football’s biggest club prize.
“This is what Champions League is all about: the knockout rounds,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “It’s almost as if another competition starts from this point on and everybody has to bring their A game, because every detail can make the difference.
“In the last couple of years we went home sooner than we wanted, but we continue to aim higher every season and this year is no exception.
“Tomorrow we have a very importante [sic] game against a very strong team and I can only hope that it may be the beggining [sic] of the long walk we want to take until the final. Respect for the opponent, ambition for the victory and 100 per cent focus on our goals. Let’s go, guys! Fino Alla Fine!”
Porto were the first team Ronaldo faced in the Champions League knockouts in the 2003-04 campaign, when Jose Mourinho’s eventual winners eliminated Manchester United in the last 16.
His last appearance against them came five years later, when his Puskas Award-winning goal at Estadio do Dragao sent United through to the semi-finals.
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