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With the Hoops having reached the last 16 of the Champions League this season, the Welshman says the prospect of playing in Europe again is more appealing than moving back to Wales

By Craig Turnbull

Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley has insisted the lure of the Premier League is not as attractive as the thought of playing Champions League football with the SPL winners next season.

The Wales international has been linked with a move back to former club and Championship winners Cardiff City in recent weeks following the Bluebirds' promotion to the top flight.

Though there are no guarantees the Hoops will qualify for the Champions League group stages next term, the 26-year-old has admitted the taste of playing against Europe's best is more appealing to him than battling relegation.

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11/1 Joe Ledley is 11/1 with William Hill to open the scoring in Ross County v Celtic
"The Champions League is the best competition in the world and that's what you want to be involved in," Ledley said.

"It's going to be a long season and it will be very difficult with entering at the qualifying rounds, but hopefully we can make the Champions League again.

"We've had a taste of it this year and hopefully we can prove to everyone again how good a team we are.

"It would be a fantastic achievement to qualify. Champions League games at Celtic Park are the best atmospheres I've witnessed.

"Whenever you play for Celtic you've got to win. It would be difficult now if you went somewhere else and the thought is: 'OK we'll take a point here or make sure we don't lose by two [goals]'.

"It's totally different [here] you've got this winning mentality and that's what you want to do as a player: win every game."

Ledley admits that while there is currently no new deal on the horizon in Scotland, he hopes to tie one up before the new season, and added that there is no truth in any rumours linking him with a move to Cardiff.

"I haven't spoke about [a new deal] at the moment, I'm just trying to concentrate on my football get the season over and done with," Ledley added.

"Hopefully we can sit down with my agent and Celtic and come to an agreement at the beginning of the season.

"I don't know anything at the moment [about Cardiff], I've not spoken to my agent or anything like that I think it is just paper talk, I haven't spoken to anyone about it."

The midfielder admits he had dreams of playing in the Premier League as a kid, but the chance which has been afforded to him at Celtic Park is not one he could turn down.

"When you're younger you always want to play in the Premier League one day," he continued,  "I think the majority of the players would.

"[But] being here at Celtic has given me the opportunity to play in the Champions League and the majority of players would do that too, it's a fantastic competition."

There have been many rumours about which players could leave Neil Lennon's side as Victor Wanyama, Gary Hooper and Fraser Forster have all been linked with a move away, but Ledley says that is normal for a side the size of Celtic.

"It's a massive club there's always going to be interest and speculation in a lot of the players the way they played in the Champions League," he added.

"In a football club there's always ins and outs it's always been like that since I signed here. If they leave then it's an opportunity for someone to come in and take their place."

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