Fenerbahçe SK coach Zico believes his latest infusion of Brazilian talent including Roberto Carlos can help earn a fourth Turkish title in five seasons in 2007/08.
Fenerbahçe SK coach Zico is confident his side's latest infusion of Brazilian talent can help them earn a fourth Turkish title in five seasons in 2007/08.
Left-backs Roberto Carlos and Wéderson were among Zico's summer signings as the Süper Lig champions returned to training last week. They join a squad already boasting Brazilian talent in the shape of defender Edu Dracena, midfielder Alex and forward Deivid. Roberto Carlos, the 34-year-old former Real Madrid CF player, has undoubtedly become the biggest name at the Istanbul club but Zico, who was himself a national hero in his playing days, feels he is not the only good new signing.
"I am sure that the new players will do their best for us," he said, having also acquired forwards İlhan Parlak and Colin Kazım-Richards along with midfielder Ali Bilgin. "Some people say that Roberto Carlos is a little bit old but I think professionalism is more important than age. AC Milan are the best example for us - they won the UEFA Champions League with an experienced team. Our rivals have made great signings so the season will be tough but we believe in ourselves."
Tuncay Şanlı, Rüştü Reçber, Ümit Özat, Serkan Balcı and Mehmet Yozgatlı have all left since the end of last season, with Zico bidding them a fond farewell. "We have to thank them for their efforts - I hope they will feel happy in their new clubs," he said. Zico's side are preparing to start their UEFA Champions League campaign in the third qualifying round next month, after the new Turkish season begins on 10 August.
The coach spent part of his summer break back in South America and found that there was plenty of local interest in his side's performances. "There are a lot of Brazilian Fenerbahçe supporters in Brazil," he revealed. "It's such a nice compliment for us. I hope we are going to feel the same happiness as we did last season. It was a great occasion to win the title in our centenary year."
Galatasaray SK will look to deny Zico's men a second successive crown under new coach Karl-Heinz Feldkamp. The 73-year-old 'Kalli', who previously led the club in the 1992/93 season, brought the local press to see his side in pre-season training, saying: "Our players work under heavy discipline as you see," he said. "In our team, nobody should play for show."
The German will take his side to the Netherlands for a pre-season training camp and is promising an uncompromising bid to reclaim the title, while they will also be targeting a UEFA Cup place when they begin in the UEFA Cup second qualifying round. "If someone shows off with the ball unnecessarily, he won't be in my squad whoever he is," he said, adding: "I am not going to criticise my players in public - I will tell them what their shortcomings are face to face."