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Real Madrid CF have raised their game this season as they chase honours at home and abroad, with lifelong fan Esteban Granero delighted to play a part in the charge for trophies.
Despite trailing FC Bayern München 2-1 going into Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu, José Mourinho's side are full of belief after a superb weekend win at FC Barcelona. Midfielder Granero summed up the mood in the camp, saying: "We are going out, match by match, to win every competition we can. We have a difficult game against Bayern but we are ready and have the right levels of confidence."
Saturday's 2-1 Camp Nou success gave Madrid a healthy seven-point lead over Barcelona at the Liga summit. Now, though, attention turns to Europe. "If we are in the semi-finals, it is because we are doing something very well," added the 24-year-old, whose team would progress with a 1-0 scoreline. "
It's time to prove we deserve to be in the final. We have scored in important matches and I think we can do it again."
Apart from spending the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons with Getafe CF, Granero has played his entire career at Madrid, notching up 64 top-flight outings and four goals. "I have been here since I was eight and always wanted this," he said. "I have grown a lot this year and become a better player and person. I'm happy and expect to be here many more years.
"I've watched Real Madrid in three European finals on TV and I celebrated at La Cibeles," continued the former Spanish Under-21 international, referencing the square and fountain in the capital where Madridistas traditionally mark a trophy triumph. "We are now close to doing it again."
The versatile Granero has been used mainly from the bench by Mourinho this term – including his six UEFA Champions League appearances – yet is happy to contribute when he can as Madrid eye their first final since 2002. "The coach is always talking to me and I try to do my best every time I play. We are lucky because we have a big squad. Bayern won't sit back, but we are thinking about our own game and how to get a result. We are more of a team now and we are united. We are growing and want to keep this going."
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