When the UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 seedings were announced last week, the possibility of Fortuna Hjørring facing Apollon Limassol LFC moved a step closer – which would be a special game for Laura Rus.
The Romania striker left Cypriot champions Apollon for last season's Danish runners-up Fortuna in the summer. Clubs from across Europe took notice of Rus's talents when she registered a competition-leading 11 goals in Europe for Apollon despite their round of 32 exit. They earned a knockout place again last week without the 25-year-old, whose team could be drawn against the Limassol outfit on 5 September.
"Winning the trophy as Champions League top scorer was a wonderful moment in my career and something I will never forget," Rus told UEFA.com. "After winning such an accolade, it is only natural that I want to win it again, especially for my new club."
Rus, who has made the move to Denmark with compatriot Florentina Spanu, is hoping to take Fortuna one better than their run to the 2003 UEFA Women's Cup final, though they have fallen in the round of 16 in all four UEFA Women's Champions League seasons. "It's been a very good experience so far and a new challenge for me," she said. "I am very happy to be here. My ambition is to help get this club as far as possible in the competition. Who knows, maybe we can even reach the final ... "
Rus, who singles out Spain's Verónica Boquete and Sweden's Lotta Schelin as footballers she most admires, believes this season UEFA Women's Champions League campaign will be tougher than ever. "I believe that, year by year, the standard of the Women's Champions League is improving. More and more people are starting to realise that women can play good football and we can already see how the number of young girls at football clubs is increasing all the time."
The Former CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu and Sporting de Huelva forward went on to single out Swedish debutants Tyresö FF – the club where Boquete plies her trade and among Fortuna's potential last 32 opponents – as the team to watch in this year's competition. "They have built a much stronger team this year and I believe that they are one of the favourites to win the Champions League," Rus said.
On the international stage, meanwhile, Rus has ambitions for Romania as they prepare next month to start a 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying campaign which they hope will take them to a first senior final tournament. However, again Boquete stands in her way as Spain and Italy are top seeded in their section. "On a personal level, I think my biggest ambition in football is to help my country qualify for a major finals competition like the European Championship or the World Cup," Rus said. "That would be amazing."
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