Marco Verratti says Paris Saint-Germain are stronger than ever after a good summer transfer window, though he believes keeping hold of Neymar was their best piece of business.
Brazil international Neymar scored a stunning stoppage-time winner on his return after a summer in which he tried to engineer a move back to former club Barcelona.
A deal could not be reached, however, and he remains in a squad that now includes summer signings Pablo Sarabia, Idrissa Gueye and Ander Herrera.
The Ligue 1 champions have failed to make an impression in the Champions League in recent years, notable only for their dramatic exits to Manchester United and Barcelona. But with a stronger squad than ever, Verratti thinks they can make a better fist of European competition this time around.
“I think, and I'm not afraid to say it, we're stronger,” he said. “We brought in the players we needed. We have a very good team.
“That does not mean that we will win the Champions League, but we want to do better than in the past. We are not going to say that we will win the Champions League when it hasn’t even started, but we want to go as far as possible.
“I think the club worked well and had a very good transfer window. Neymar is perhaps the most important player we recruited.”
With Neymar still serving a European suspension and Kylian Mbappe injured, PSG will be below full strength for Wednesday’s clash with Real Madrid.
Despite his match-winning performance against Strasbourg, Neymar was met with a frosty reception from the home fans in his first game back. But Verratti knows his side are stronger with their star man, and he is confident he will be back to his best after some time away.
“We need players like Neymar or Kylian who are a bit above everyone else,” he added. “Neymar had a difficult time with things outside of football that have somewhat destabilised him.
“But when he learned that he was staying, I saw him with a smile as always. He loves football, he is a player who will help us a lot. We are lucky to have him in Paris, we must enjoy him.
“I know that the fans have not forgotten, but I hope that Neymar will do everything [to make amends] and we will celebrate all this together at the end of the season. In football, there are always some nice moments and I hope that it will end well. Neymar will give 110 per cent.”