Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld believes Spurs are capable of defending the unbeaten record of Premier League teams in the Champions League this season when they play at Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Spanish teams have dominated the competition since Chelsea posted the last English success in 2012, with Real winning three of the past four Champions Leagues and Barcelona the other.
But five Premier League teams are unbeaten in 10 games this season, with Manchester City, Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea all winning their opening two games, and Liverpool posting two draws.
Chelsea even provided an English template for success in Madrid by beating Atletico 2-1 with a 94th-minute winner from Michy Batshuayi last month.
“You see this season that Premier League teams have been getting good results, though Madrid are there every year, in the final of the Champions League,” said Alderweireld who will be tasked with muzzling the threat posed by four-times World Player of the Year Ronaldo on Tuesday.
“We have a good team and we can beat them. That is not arrogance. It’s just confidence in our own game. If you play in the Premier League, you play against the best teams in the world,” he told the Evening Standard on Tuesday.
“We have to be confident because there is always a chance to win there, to keep possession. They have a lot of quality up front, but we can hurt them as well.”
Real Madrid have only been beaten twice by English teams at the Bernabeu — by Arsenal in 2006 and Liverpool in 2009 — but Alderweireld knows what is possible after being part of the Atletico Madrid squad who pipped their neighbours to the La Liga title in 2014.
“Their [Real’s] history is amazing, but we have to respect our own history as well,” said the 28-year-old Belgian centre back. “When I was at Atletico, we believed we could hurt them and we have that belief at Tottenham, too. We have a lot of respect for them, but respect doesn’t mean you take a step back. Go for it, win your battles and anything can happen.
“It up to us to give them a good match. If we win, we won’t think we’re the best in the world, we don’t have to be too dramatic about it. We will try to get a good result because our aim is to get to the next round,” he said.