Rochinha has illuminated SL Benfica's path to the last four of the UEFA Youth League, and here he discusses the campaign so far, anticipation ahead of the finals and his pride in wearing the famous red shirt.
"From the beginning we dreamt about reaching at least this stage in Switzerland," the No10 told UEFA.com. "We've been able to do that, and now we'll see what we can do." On the evidence so far, the Portuguese side could go all the way having made fairly seamless progress, winning six and drawing two, even if they had to come from behind to see off Manchester City FC in the quarter-finals.
Rochinha has been ever-present, weighing in with five goals and five assists from attacking midfield as his skills, dribbling ability and speed caused headaches around the continent. His efforts have not gone unrewarded, with Benfica offering professional terms to a player they snapped up from FC Porto in 2011. "It's an honour to wear the Benfica shirt because of the history the club has, with all the glory and the achievements over the years," said the 18-year-old.
The teenager has already trained with the first-team squad, and the format of the UEFA Youth League group stage – with games played around UEFA Champions League matches – has provided the opportunity to spend more time with the seniors. "After we played our matches we also went to watch them play, and we've seen that it is a competition of great status, of a high level and great professionalism," Rochinha said. "Being there with the senior team and playing in identical groups gave us motivation."
Being two games from European silverware is a further spur, with Real Madrid CF their last-four opponents in Nyon and either FC Barcelona or FC Schalke 04 awaiting in the final. "From the beginning we dreamt about reaching at least this stage in Switzerland. We've done that; now we'll see what we can do. Real Madrid are a very good team, but in the semi-finals anything can happen. Obviously I hope we win, but we will focus on this match, knowing we have to give our all. What happens will happen."
To hear more from Rochinha on the competition, click the video player above.
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