"This is a title that would leave its mark in the life of every player and every Manchester City fan," said Fernandinho as he dreamed of UEFA Champions League glory.
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A UEFA Cup winner with Shakhtar Donetsk in 2009, midfielder Fernandinho is dreaming of making it a European trophy double as Manchester City travel to Real Madrid.
UEFA.com: Speaking as a midfielder, why are Real Madrid such a tough team to play against?
Fernandinho: Because they're one of the main teams in Europe. They're one of the teams that have won the Champions League the most times, a very good team, and known throughout the world. They have a lot of quality players and a great history in the Champions League. And because of all these things they're a very tough team to beat. But our hope is to be able to overcome all that, deliver a performance and secure qualification next Wednesday.
UEFA.com: You have played in FIFA World Cup, UEFA Cup, Copa Libertadores, domestic cup and now UEFA Champions League semi-finals. How do you deal with them?
Fernandinho: The pressure is great because all teams want to reach finals, but the hope is that you can overcome the difficulties. We've had some disappointments, we've had some joy as well, so you learn from these experiences and take something from everything. When you've done something wrong you try not to repeat those mistakes; and whatever you've done well you try to do again, so you can reach your objective which is to qualify for the final.
UEFA.com: Are you proud of what Manchester City have achieved this season?
Fernandinho: I feel great pride. We've learned from our mistakes of the past, and we've overcome a lot of difficulties during this campaign too, like injuries – we've been missing important players all through the competition. In the last 16 and the quarter-finals we beat two good teams to reach this semi-final stage, and now we are very close to achieving a historic moment for ourselves as players and for the club as well.
UEFA.com: Why have City been so successful in Europe this term?
Fernandinho: I think this season the whole team have understood how to play in the Champions League. That was important, especially in the matches away from home. It was about having a more cohesive team, a more compact team that doesn't give the opposition as many opportunities. And in attack we have some quality players who showed their strength and quality.
UEFA.com: What can you tell us about Manuel Pellegrini as a manager?
Fernandinho: He's a very calm coach – he talks with his players a lot. I think this season, especially in the Champions League, we've taken on the way he wants us to play. We've understood perfectly the way he wants things to be, the way he sees football, and I think that's been very important.
UEFA.com: What would it mean for City to win the competition?
Fernandinho: It would mean a lot. I've been playing in the Champions League for many years, first with Shakhtar and now here at City, and it's the first time I've reached a semi-final. The expectations are very high – that we can do a good job and win this trophy. So we will go to Madrid with a lot of focus and give everything we have to win this trophy. This is a title that would leave its mark in the life of every player and every Manchester City fan.