Facing Cristiano Ronaldo in the final of the Confederations Cup would hold no fear for Germany midfielder Emre Can.
Joachim Low’s world champions meet Mexico in Thursday’s semi-final in Sochi, with Ronaldo and Euro 2016 winners Portugal taking on Chile a day earlier in Kazan.
The Real Madrid superstar has scored twice in three games in Russia, while being voted man of the match by supporters in each of Portugal’s group matches.
He is prolonging a trophy hunt that yielded LaLiga and Champions League glory in 2016-17 – including five goals across both legs of the quarter-final against Bayern Munich – but Liverpool’s Can would welcome the challenge of taking on the former Manchester United favourite.
“Nobody is scared of Ronaldo,” he said. “Obviously he is a world-class player, but nobody is afraid of him.”
Mexico might at least be a little apprehensive over facing Julian Draxler, who has responded to taking on the captaincy of an experimental Germany squad in Russia by turning in a string of dazzling displays.
The Paris Saint-Germain winger has been granted liberal licence to roam across the midfield and forward positions by Low and created 10 clear goalscoring opportunities during the group stages – more than any other player.
He also weighed in by converting a penalty in the opening 3-2 win over Australia and Can has been impressed by how his fellow 23-year-old has led a side lacking experience at international level.
“He’s been a very good leader. He’s not the loudest guy, but on the pitch I think you could see his quality in the three games,” said Can.
“He is talking to the players, he wants to help and I think he has a lot of experience. He is doing it very well.
“You can see he always wants the ball, always wants to create something on the pitch.
“He wants to score always and you can see that in every game.”
Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi is expected to return to Germany’s backline after being rested for the 3-1 victory against Cameroon last time out and is also a member of the Draxler fan club, suggesting his team-mate could soon enter the “superstar” bracket Ronaldo has made his own for so long.
“He is a really, really good and talented player. He’s young as well and I think he’s got a really bright future ahead of him,” said Mustafi.
“In football, you never know what’s happening. Talent only is not always enough, but I think that he has the character, he has the talent and the head to be the superstar, for sure.”