Sergio Canales: “The Champions League is an objective.”

Real Betis talisman Sergio Canales is aiming to be back from injury to face Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie.

In an interview with Radio Marca, Canales underlined that he has begun training with the ball, and is targetting the first leg at Old Trafford on March 9.

Canales was at his dazzling best against Real Valladolid two weeks back, before being substituted at half-time as pre-caution after feeling some discomfort.

The Spaniard lamented the ACL injury suffered by partner-in-crime Nabil Fekir.

“It’s very sad. The news was sudden and I personally did not expect it. I have spoken with him since. He is a very strong person, and I’m confident he will return very well.”

Real Betis are reaching the climax of their 2022-23 season. Sitting fifth in La Liga, the race for Top 4 is on, along with Europa League ambitions. Canales, who turned 32 in February, recognizes the importance of each game.

“When you’re younger, you think of approaching ‘important’ games against Real Madrid and Barcelona differently. Now, I’m aware that the three points against Mallorca matter just as much as the three points against Madrid.”

While the hunt for Champions League football heating up, Canales is talking things calmly and cautiously.

“It’s about taking steps forward year after year. Last year we finished fifth; this year, getting top 4 would be a huge step. There is still a long way to go. The Champions League remains an objective and an illusion.”

Betis will next face defending champions Real Madrid at the Benito Villamarín on Sunday night.

Roddur Mookherjee | GSFN

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