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Italy defender Daniele Bonera hopes to help seven-time European champions AC Milan add yet another notch to their long list of successes when they face Celtic FC on Tuesday.
Although they have already qualified for the first knockout round, the Rossoneri are on the cusp of another feat in their illustrious continental history: a point or more against the Scottish title-holders would confirm them as Group D winners and would also represent the sixth successive occasion that Milan have topped their UEFA Champions League section. "It's definitely important as it would be a remarkable achievement," said Bonera. "On top of that, in theory at least, it would ensure we get a better draw in the first knockout round. We are particularly aware of that and that's another reason why we fully intend to go out there to win."
While a draw would be enough for both sides to progress, Bonera insists that neither team is inclined to adopt a cagy approach and that an open match is likely. "It's a game that could go either way," the 26-year-old continued. "Celtic will almost certainly come at us as they are not a calculating side. And we are the same because it's in Milan's DNA to always play for the win. Hopefully, a great match is in prospect and we'll just have to wait and see what happens."
In a squad boasting the likes of Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Kakha Kaladze and Giuseppe Favalli, Bonera has never quite established himself as a first-team regular since joining from Parma FC in 2006. He has, however, featured in all five of his club's European assignments this season and wishes to continue repaying the faith of coach Carlo Ancelotti on Tuesday. "I'm hoping to play," he said. "The fact I'm able to play in various positions has been recognised. I'm always ready to help out when necessary and always give my all for the side."
Having experienced the 2-1 defeat at Celtic on Matchday 2, Bonera also knows his team-mates will have to be on their mettle against opponents who, he says, are slowly becoming a force at Europe's top table. "Scottish football has improved immeasurably over the last few years," he said. "In the past their game has tended to be based on the physical side but they have advanced technically now. We know we'll need to adopt the right mental approach against them as we struggled in Glasgow, particularly in the early stages of both halves. We'll have to be on our guard."
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