PULLING on a light blue jersey and representing Rangers was never a particular ambition for Danilo when he was a young football-obsessed boy in Sao Paolo in his native Brazil.

Featuring in the Champions League one day, though, very much was.

He watched many of his celebrated compatriots light up Europe’s premier club competition on television when he was growing up and following in their footsteps has long been an objective of his.

The 24-year-old forward, a £6m signing in the summer, has both played and scored goals for his former clubs Ajax and Feyenoord in the Europa League in the past. 

Yet, emulating legends like Dani Alves, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Kaka, Marcelo, Ronaldo and Rivaldo and gracing the greatest stage in the game remains an unfulfilled career goal.

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So he is desperate to help Rangers prevail in the second leg of the play-off double header against PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands on Wednesday night and join the continent’s elite in the group stage for the second year running.

“It means a lot to me,” said Danilo. “It’s a dream. The first leg of the Servette tie was my first Champions League where I got to play. Normally I was only on the bench when I was at Ajax. As I say, it’s a dream. I’m going to do everything to try and make the dream I had as a boy come true.

“For every young Brazilian boy you watch the Champions League on the TV and you want to play in it. When you hear the sound of the music, it’s goosebumps, it’s everything emotional inside and adrenaline. It means a lot. It is something special, a dream.”

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He added: “I watched a lot of the Brazilian players. I liked watching Neymar in the Champions League. I also saw a lot of Gabriel Jesus. Everybody talks about me having the same quality as him because I like to link up and also look for the goal.

“It would mean a lot for my family especially. They always talk about it and they wish I can play in it. I hope one time I can play in the Champions League and I’m definitely going to bring my family over here. They will love hearing the sound of the anthem.

“It’s the dream of my father. He could not be a professional footballer, but I’m glad that God gave me this talent and I can make his dream come true as well. When you can be on the field and realise that you are playing in the Champions League, it’s something special.”

Defeating PSV, who Rangers drew 2-2 with at Ibrox on Tuesday night thanks to Abdallah Sima and Rabbi Matondo strikes, in the Philips Stadion in midweek will not be easy for Michael Beale’s men. 

But Danilo was encouraged by the opportunities which he and his team mates created up front – he had a shot deflected just wide – in the closing stages of the first leg game in midweek and is certain the visitors are capable of hurting their hosts in the rematch.

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“Unfortunately, I couldn’t score at the end,” he said. “I think my chance was a good block from Ramalho. I tried my best to score that goal but it didn’t go into the net.

“I know with the quality of PSV they are strong, but Rangers showed their quality. We had opportunities and I think in every game we’re going to get opportunities.

“The game was up and down, goal after goal. It was a crazy game to watch. It’s the Champions League, so it’s always going to be hard. These kind of games are always going to happen. It was a hard night.

“The coach wants us to be ruthless inside the box. Sometimes it’s difficult. You just have to try to score in the moment. There’s a lot of adrenaline. We have to try our best to win over there and hopefully make it to the Champions League.”

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He added: “I think the coach is going to do all the tactical work and show how we can break through the defence. Of course, on the pitch you have to do all you can yourself to break through because they can chance during the game.

“We have a strong attack and we have to keep trying to connect with one another. It’s still early. We have to do our best to score to help us qualify.”

Danilo also thinks the Glasgow club can take confidence from the 1-0 triumph they recorded against the same opponents at the same stadium at the same stage of the competition last year after drawing their opening encounter 2-2.

“I watched the game,” he said. “Rangers is a team that is always going to fight. We have to believe in ourselves and we know our qualities. We will prepare ourselves to be ready and I hope we win and qualify for the Champions League.”

Danilo, who missed a first-half sitter in the second leg of the third qualifying round tie against Servette in Switzerland, started the PSV match at Ibrox on Tuesday night on the bench.

But he has extensive experience both of Dutch football and of playing and scoring against the Red and Whites at their renowned ground – he did so in the Eredivisie last season – and believes he can draw on that when he returns to the country where he spent the last six years of his life plying his trade.

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“It would mean a lot to win in Holland,” he said. “It was a place that gave me a welcome for European football. I’m looking forward to going back to Holland.

“I scored at the PSV stadium last season. There was a lot of emotion. It was a gift the defender gave to me. I hope they can give do that again.

“I hope we can get another gift, but it’s a game where you never know what can happen. We’re going to work really hard to try and make it work for ourselves.

“We know their fans are always there supporting them. But, of course, we have our fans who are going everywhere and we have to do everything for them. We have to be strong and show our quality.”

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