Cristian Romero said Atalanta ‘believe’ they can beat Real Madrid on Wednesday and revealed Sergio Ramos was his idol growing up.
The 22-year-old played five games in the group stage and helped the Nerazzurri continue their impressive record in the Champions League.
On Wednesday, La Dea host Real Madrid in the first of two legs in the last 16.
“Real are undoubtedly a club that has a great history,” Romero told UEFA.com. “At the moment, they are not in the best shape but we are focused on ourselves.
“We believe we can win. We believe in ourselves. We must put down a great performance to go through to the quarter-finals at the expense of such a strong and prestigious opponent.
“It will be very difficult, but we are confident in our means, we will continue to offer our football.”
Romero said Los Blancos captain Sergio Ramos ‘is one of my idols’ but the Spain international will not be available for the visitors on Wednesday.
“I have followed Sergio Ramos since I was little because I have always enjoyed watching Real Madrid,” he said.
“Especially when he played against Barcelona, because [Lionel] Messi was on the pitch. Sergio is undoubtedly one of my idols and for them, it will be an important absence.”
The centre-back, who moved on loan from Juventus last summer, revealed he understood coach Gian Piero Gasperini was ‘the right person’ to help him develop.
“He is a coach who can help you grow as a player and he can improve your style of play and many other aspects,” Romero continued.
“With Gasperini, anyone must be able to do more things. A defender can’t just defend, he must contribute going forward.
“When defending, the attackers are also called upon to contribute. This is why I realised the coach was the right person for my career.
“After four of five months here, I can say that I definitely made the right decision."