By Hugo Pietra
With the UEFA Champions League final approaching, even the most experienced players in the FC Porto and AS Monaco FC camps will be beginning to feel the pressure. However, if nerves are getting to Porto's experienced goalkeeper Vítor Baía, he was certainly not showing it as he met uefa.com at an adidas conference in Nice.
A UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with FC Barcelona in 1996/97 and a UEFA Cup winner with Porto in 2002/03, the famous No99 needs only the European Champion Clubs' Cup to complete a full set of major European club trophies. Eight players have achieved this feat before: Sergio Brio, Antonio Cabrini, Gaetano Scirea, Stefano Tacconi and Marco Tardelli (for Juventus FC); Gianluca Vialli (UC Sampdoria, Juventus and Chelsea FC), Danny Blind (AFC Ajax) and Arnold Muhren (Ajax and Ipswich Town FC). The 34-year-old talked through his plans to join this exclusive club.
uefa.com: What is your main motivation as you look forward to the final at the Arena Aufschalke?
Vítor Baía: We are not used to losing and we don't like to lose any match.
uefa.com: Porto coach José Mourinho has built up an incredible reputation in the past two years - what sort of effect has he had on the team?
Vítor Baía: The coach's influence has been very important. Porto also has a great president [Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa], who works in tandem with the coach. The coach has moulded the players in his own image and the results have been more than good.
uefa.com: How do you think the game in Gelsenkirchen will go?
Vítor Baía: Small details will be decisive. Both teams were not favourites to reach the final but we are both there on merit. We have a 50-50 chance of winning this game and we will try to improve those odds during the match. We must not allow ourselves to be influenced by the atmosphere at the final and must play as a strong team.
uefa.com: If you win the Champions League you will become only the tenth player to have won all three major club trophies. How would that feel?
Vítor Baía: It would be fantastic for me. Our careers as footballers are defined by the titles that we win. [To have won all three titles] would be the greatest achievement in my career and a reason for great joy. There are some targets that are very important and winning the Champions League is one of them.
The final against Monaco is a special moment for all of us.
uefa.com: Porto have played two other French sides this season - Olympique de Marseille and Olympique Lyonnais. What have you learned?
Vítor Baía: Both teams were very hard to defeat. They have really good players, technically very refined and with a great attitude. They were very hard opponents and I think the same thing will happen in the final. I hope our players can be inspired, in order to decide the match with one or two smart moves.
uefa.com: You have watched Monaco in action. What do you think of them?
Vítor Baía: They are a solid side, very strong in the defence and in the midfield. In front they have a great play on the air, apart from being very quick. Ludovic Giuly and Dado Pršo are really dangerous and Fernando Morientes is a great player. I hope that I can keep the ball away from him and that he will have an off day next week.
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