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Hulk bursting to take on Atlético

Published: Wednesday 11 March 2009, 7.43CET
The Spanish media compared FC Porto striker Hulk to Ronaldo, his "idol", after the first leg against Club Atlético de Madrid but such flattery will not turn his head as he aims to help his side earn a spot in the quarter-finals.
by Andy Brassell
from Porto
Hulk bursting to take on Atlético
Hulk says Porto are 'ready' for the visit of Atlético ©AFP

Tournament statistics

PortoAtlético

Goals scored13
 
11
Attempts on target68
 
33
Attempts off target62
 
33
Corners54
 
31
Offsides18
 
15
Fouls committed145
 
127
Yellow cards16
 
17
Red cards1
 
0
 
Published: Wednesday 11 March 2009, 7.43CET

Hulk bursting to take on Atlético

The Spanish media compared FC Porto striker Hulk to Ronaldo, his "idol", after the first leg against Club Atlético de Madrid but such flattery will not turn his head as he aims to help his side earn a spot in the quarter-finals.

FC Porto striker Hulk was likened to Ronaldo after the first leg against Club Atlético de Madrid but the flattery will not sway him from helping his side to a UEFA Champions League quarter-final.

'Inspiration'
The Brazilian is enjoying his first season in Europe and caught the eye with a powerful display in the 2-2 first-leg draw at the Vicente Calderón. The Spanish media were certainly taken with Hulk, drawing comparisons between him and his illustrious compatriot, who wreaked havoc among many a Liga defence in his time. "Ronaldo is my idol," said Hulk of the former FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF forward. "He's the best player I've ever seen play. He's an inspiration to me to work hard every day."

Team effort
The 22-year-old is in no mood to be satisfied by personal plaudits, though, and is desperate for Porto to reach the last eight for the first time since they won the competition in 2003/04. "It's an important game and all the squad are ready for it," he added. "We're going to play as well as we can at home. We've played as a team [this season], with everyone helping each other, and I'm certain we're going to get a positive result against Atlético."

'Right mentality'
Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira feels his young attacker, who is yet to register in seven UEFA Champions League appearances, is only just beginning to make his mark. "Hulk is not the finished article," said the 62-year-old. "He's a long way from being so. He's just starting, but he's aware of that. He's got a lot to learn, but he has enormous potential." Ferreira has high hopes of the man he brought in from Tokyo Verdy last summer. "I hope he's going to become one of the best in the world in his position. If he has luck, he has the mentality to do it."

High praise
Nor has his progress gone unnoticed back home, with former Porto favourite Mário Jardel and Brazil coach Dunga both singing Hulk's praises. Dunga is watching him closely and has hinted that a call-up may not be too far away. "To play for the Seleção would be a dream," said Hulk. "I'm going to try and make the dream happen."

Last updated: 11/03/09 21.01CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2009/matches/round=15277/match=302800/prematch/focus/index.html#hulk+bursting+take+atletico

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