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Eduardo Salvio may have started the season in the shadows but little by little the young Argentinian international has become one of SL Benfica's most influential players.
The right winger has hit eight goals in all competitions for Benfica since signing on loan from Club Atlético de Madrid last summer and hopes he can serve as the Portuguese side's lucky omen in the UEFA Europa League – a competition he has already tasted victory in with Atlético last May.
The one player left in the tournament who could yet claim a second consecutive winners' medal, he was a 78th-minute substitute in the Rojiblancos' 2009/10 final triumph over Fulham FC so certainly knows what it takes to succeed.
"I had a wonderful experience in the Europa League with Atlético. We managed to get through every round and it was a fantastic experience. Now I am feeling the same with Benfica," said the 20-year-old, who would cost Benfica €15m should they wish to make his move permanent at season's end.
The former CA Lanús attacker added:
"We have had a good campaign so far and took an important step with the home win against PSG. We now have another 90 minutes and will give everything to reach the next round."
Benfica face Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Parc des Princes on Thursday looking to defend a 2-1 advantage in their round of 16 tie. Salvio sees no reason why they cannot advance, seeing echoes of their last-32 encounter with VfB Stuttgart – when they also came from behind to prevail 2-1 in Lisbon before winning the away second leg.
"I think we have the necessary to get through. Against Stuttgart, we did not play very well in the first half [in Lisbon] but managed to come back and win. At home to PSG we were not very good in the first half either but once more we turned things in our favour." Whether Jorge Jesus's men can repeat their 2-0 victory in Stuttgart remains to be seen, yet Salvio – who netted Benfica's opening goal in Germany – believes they can breach the Parisians' defence.
"Looking at the home matches against Stuttgart and PSG, as well as the 2-0 win in Stuttgart, we are confident of making the last eight," said the youngster, who is also known as 'Toto' Salvio. "I think we can score in France like we did in Germany. We all know it will be a very difficult game but we have very good, experienced players who can help us through." And a less experienced one with his own important role to play.
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