Roberto Carlos has won pretty much all there is to win in football but in 2009 he hopes to have the chance to pick up "one of the missing pieces in my collection".
Fenerbahçe SK's Sükrü Saraçoglu Stadium will be the venue for this season's UEFA Cup final on Wednesday 20 May, and the Istanbul club will transfer to the competition's Round of 32 if they win their last UEFA Champions League group game at FC Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday 10 December. The Brazilian left-back has claimed numerous major honours including the FIFA World Cup, Copa América and UEFA Champions League, plus league titles in Brazil and Spain; but never the UEFA Cup.
The former Real Madrid CF defender will have a final chance to do so should his Fenerbahçe side succeed in Ukraine. "The UEFA Cup is one of the missing pieces in my collection," Roberto Carlos told uefa.com. "When I was playing for Real Madrid, we competed in the UEFA Champions League most of the time and won it three times. When we didn't win we always ended up in the later rounds. I sincerely want to win the UEFA Cup too because I feel its absence."
Attending today's launch of the visual identity for the 2009 UEFA Cup final, the 35-year-old is confident that if Fenerbahçe do earn a place in the Round of 32, they can make it all the way in the competition. "I don't see anything which could prevent us reaching the final," he said. "Our fans always aspire to big things, and want to see us playing against big teams like AC Milan. It's obvious that we have a different kind of motivation in our home games. Perhaps this is a signal sent from God to me. I have never won the UEFA Cup before and our team could compete at home in the final."
A Fenerbahçe player since 2007, helping the Canaries to their first UEFA Champions League quarter-final after a career which took him to União São João, SE Palmeiras and FC Internazionale Milano before Madrid, Roberto Carlos says it would be a "dream" to meet his former city rivals Milan in the UEFA Cup final. But whoever Fenerbahçe play should they make it, Roberto Carlos would be delighted to just be there. "On final day, you know that all your efforts will be rewarded," he said. "It's one of the best feelings that a player can have. The dream of lifting the trophy will naturally motivate you. And UEFA finals have significant importance as they are among the most prestigious trophies that a player can win in his career."
May's final will be the first major UEFA showpiece at the Sükrü Saraçoglu Stadium, and Roberto Carlos is delighted that his adopted Turkish home has been awarded the honour: "It makes me very happy and it is also proof of how much the country I am playing in thinks about the game. In all genders and age categories, Turkey is trying to take a step forward and improve. The good stadiums, facilities, pitches and hotels which can be thought of as a requirement for hosting big events already exist. As well as Galatasaray's previous success [they won the UEFA Cup in 2000], I believe Fenerbahçe have made a big contribution representing Turkey and Istanbul with our recent achievements in the Champions League, especially last year."