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Champions League semi-finals: Marquinhos on Paris's trophy mission

"We have this dream," says the Paris stalwart as his team look to continue their European title quest against Leipzig.

At the heart of the Paris Saint-Germain team since he joined from Roma in 2013, Marquinhos has been well placed to watch the French side grow and evolve over the years – and share in the heartbreak of some of their recent UEFA Champions League exits.

Paris banished those unhappy memories with their dramatic 2-1 quarter-final defeat of Atalanta, when Marquinhos's 90th-minute equaliser began a late turnaround. The versatile defender, often used as a midfielder under Thomas Tuchel, is now relishing Tuesday's semi-final against Leipzig, and the chance to perhaps go on to snare the club's maiden European title.

On Paris's development as a team

We've changed a lot. What we've done has made us learn and has [left us with] some scars, but it's got us where we are now. I've been here at PSG for seven years. I like the team a lot. The club has grown a lot and brought in great players, such as Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappé. They're global stars and it's a big deal playing with them.

We've had some injuries, but we were able to maintain the same performance level with the players we've had available. I think that's our strength this season. The atmosphere has been really good; we get along on and off the pitch. It's all part of our journey – scars, mistakes and difficulties we've been through. We're not only together in the good times but also the tough times.

On scoring against Atalanta

It was an outpouring of feelings and emotions. As soon as I scored, I turned around and looked at my team-mates on the bench and in the stands. I have this image in my mind of them jumping and celebrating, not knowing how to celebrate, just running around, jumping, hugging each other. It was very good. And for me, personally, it was one of the most powerful things I've experienced here at PSG.

On facing Leipzig

They are a young team and fearless, as they've shown already in this Champions League season. They've played great. In the previous match against Atlético Madrid; they totally dominated the game. So, we know we'll have to give our best. Nowadays, relying on prestige doesn't get you anywhere.

We've seen that playing as a team, having a strategy and playing with strength make a huge difference on the pitch. So, we simply have to do our best and play at our highest level. We have quality, talented players, but we must come together and help each other on the pitch, give all that we have and put all our effort and heart into what we love, which is football, and fight to win this.

On aiming for the trophy

Because these are one-off games only, we're seeing plenty of excitement in all the matches. It's now become like a World Cup of sorts. That's why it's been so joyful, so full of excitement.

We're aiming to win this trophy because we're ambitious. We want it; we have this dream. But we're aware that it's a long and hard road. There'll be struggle, it won't be easy, so it's not enough to just dream about it.

Source: UEFA

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