Ezequiel Lavezzi considers Napoli’s round of 16 meeting with Chelsea “the most important match of the season”, and he is itching to mark the occasion with his first Champions League goal.
The Argentina winger has scored three goals in the UEFA Cup and Europa League, is certainly due a goal against the Blues, and he said:
“I really hope so. It would be pretty nice to score my first goal in the UEFA Champions League against a team like Chelsea. I know I could score more goals, but at the end of the game, if I have helped the team to get a result, I’ll be happy.”
Napoli are unbeaten at the Stadio San Paolo in 11 games since returning to continental competition in 2008 after a 13-year absence, and are eager to achieve a first-leg advantage. However, Lavezzi was in no mood to talk up their prospects in Tuesday’s match, with the former CA San Lorenzo man wary of setting his side up for a fall.
“I’m staying really quiet,” said the 26-year-old. “This is an important game but if we are not careful we risk losing. We are not the favourites because Chelsea have much experience than us, but I can promise that we are hungry and that we want to write an important page in our history. We have to respect Chelsea, otherwise we won’t go on – that is clear.
“This is the most important match of the season and we can’t make any mistakes,” he continued, batting away talk of Chelsea’s wavering form in England. “We have to play our game. I don’t care how many goals our opponents have scored or conceded. We have to focus for more than 90 minutes and then everything might be good, especially if we know we have done our best.”