Ramos: Home advantage crucial
© AFP

Sergio Ramos has told Real Madrid fans to "score the first goal" in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona as they look to make the most of home advantage.

Madrid go into the game in buoyant mood after beating Barça 1-0 in the Copa del Rey final last week before a much-changed side enjoyed a 6-3 thrashing of Valencia in the Primera Division on Saturday.

But Ramos warned that the Champions League tie would be another matter, and urged Madrid fans to create a big atmosphere at the Bernabeu.

"It's the fans who have to score the first goal for us," said Ramos. "Every visiting side at the Bernabeu has to be wary of the atmosphere. They must really be aware of what it means to play at a stadium like ours."

We all know of the responsibility we have and what it takes to defend these crests. We will have to give our all to win.
Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid defender.

Despite the big win over Valencia, Madrid remain eight points behind Barca in the table, meaning the Champions League is their more realistic chance of another trophy this season as Jose Mourinho bids to guide a third club to European football's biggest prize.

Ramos said the way the team performed in Valencia despite Mourinho making nine changes with Wednesday's match in mind shows the unity in the squad as they focus on their goals.

"It is more united than ever," he said. "We are all extremely excited about the times we are living. The Champions League is a very important competition and it is at stake for us. Now is when we must show everyone how excited we are."

But Ramos is making no bold predictions of victory, admitting instead to a genuine excitement about the fixture.

"Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have great players and no one knows what will happen," he said. "We all know of the responsibility we have and what it takes to defend these crests. We will have to give our all to win."