Moscow, Dec 21 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Rubin Kazan defender Roman Sharonov is under no illusion his side will be the underdogs after being drawn against holders Atletico Madrid in the Europa League knockout stage.
But the veteran insisted there was no gulf in class, simply the Spaniards will have better match fitness because the Russian winter break will not have finished when the sides meet Feb 14.
"I think that Atletico will have an advantage because they will be playing in their championships," the 36-year-old former Russia international.
"They will be playing and we will be just training."
Sharonov will have to face one of the top players in the world in Radamel Falcao, who has already netted 16 goals this season.
"I like it when Rubin play against strong teams," Sharonov said. "It will be interesting to play against such a striker as Falcao. This is a player who needs only one touch to score a goal."
The teams have never met, though Rubin have a reasonable record against Spanish opposition, with one win, two draws and one defeat, all against Barcelona.