In Luis Fabiano's view, all Sevilla FC need to reach May's UEFA Champions League final at the Santiago Bernabéu is confidence. "With belief, Sevilla can do great things," he said to uefa.com.
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As far as Luis Fabiano is concerned, all Sevilla FC need to reach the UEFA Champions League final at the Santiago Bernabéu in May is a little more confidence.
He may be a religious man, but it is self-belief rather than divine intervention that the Brazilian international cites as being key to the Andalusian club's cause. While coach Manuel Jiménez has demanded that already-qualified Sevilla guarantee first place in Group G with a draw or better against FC Unirea Urziceni in Bucharest on Tuesday, Fabiano – dubbed "the best striker in the world" by Unirea coach Dan Petrescu after his goal on Matchday 1 – has greater prizes in mind.
Guts and belief
"Regarding the final in Madrid, I believe nothing is impossible in football," Fabiano told uefa.com. "We have great players with lots of experience who are seasoned internationals and have the necessary guts – that's what you need. Then you need luck, but that's also something you have to believe in. We have a great team and can perform against anyone, but sometimes we lack that belief we can win. At the most important moments the confidence doesn't always show, but I am confident that, with belief, Sevilla can do great things."
Such plain talking reflects Fabiano's ruthless focus on being the best he can, evidenced by the fact that, if things go well, he has a chance of lifting both the UEFA Champions League trophy and the FIFA World Cup between late May and early July next year. "I've worked hard to make it to this level and I'm living a special moment," the 29-year-old said. "To hear a world-class coach and former player like Petrescu call me the best attacker in the world was great. I hope to continue being among the best until the World Cup, because that tournament is special. When I ask God for something like that, I always thank him too, because I'm very grateful for what I've been given."
Life was not always so sweet for Fabiano, a player familiar with both failure and fear. The one-time AA Ponte Preta and São Paulo FC forward hardly impressed during short spells at Stade Rennais FC and FC Porto, before landing at Sevilla in 2005 in the same year that his mother had been kidnapped for two horrendous months. Now, though, he has numerous triumphs in the memory bank, including UEFA Cup wins in 2006 and 2007. Scoring may be his specialist subject – witness his 25 goals in 35 internationals – yet ultimately it is teamwork which, he believes, is his strength. "It's such a great feeling to score a goal, the most incredible feeling you can have in a match," he explained. "And being a striker is like going to war with the central defender; it's very complicated. The adrenalin is pumping and you go crazy when you score. But I always have my head up to see the game, play one-twos and pass to team-mates in good positions. I don't just think about scoring: I'm not selfish, I play for the team."