"Porto and Beşiktaş are the two clubs that I will take to my grave," Ricardo Quaresma told UEFA.com as he and Black Eagles forward Cenk Tosun looked ahead to a huge matchday five game.
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Winger Ricardo Quaresma and striker Cenk Tosun took time out from preparations for the high-stakes visit of Porto to discuss a UEFA Champions League campaign which finds Beşiktaş riding high at the top of Group G.
UEFA.com: What do you make of Beşiktaş's UEFA Champions League campaign so far?
Ricardo Quaresma: We've been doing really well but nothing is settled yet. Our next game is against Porto and it's one where we can decide the group stage in our favour. Our objective is to get through. We'll have to keep working and doing the great job we have been doing. I believe we can make it.
Cenk Tosun: The Champions League is the most important competition – it's where the best of the best are. It is a big boost for us to have got ten points in four games and I am also very proud to have scored four goals in four matches. I want to be able to build on this and score more.
UEFA.com: What has been the difference between last season, when Beşiktaş finished third in their group, and this one, when you top Group G by four points?
Ricardo Quaresma: Last year our team still didn't have much Champions League experience. This season the team is more or less the same but we now have a better understanding of how the Champions League works. We're top of a group of strong teams with great quality. The fact we're top is down to playing as a team. We defend and attack together. That's the only way we can achieve our goal.
UEFA.com: Cenk, your goals have also made a big difference, haven't they?
Cenk Tosun: Well, after scoring four, I am level with Oktay Derelioğlu for most UEFA Champions League goals in one season for Beşiktaş. I've got five Champions League goals in total, if you count the one against Benfica last season. So far I have scored 11 goals overall in UEFA competitions – Oktay Derelioğlu got 14 – so I am going to do my best to overtake him.
UEFA.com: Ricardo, the Porto fans showed their appreciation for you at the Dragão. What will it be like when Porto come to Istanbul?
Ricardo Quaresma: It's a match I will have to be professional about. I can't allow myself to get tangled up in the love that I feel. Porto and Beşiktaş are the two clubs that I will take to my grave, but I am a professional. I know Porto want to win, but I do too. So I will give my all for my team. However, that does not mean I will lose my appreciation and respect for Porto.
As long as I'm playing for this club I'll give everything I have. The fans have always treated me well and believed in me. I feel the love, affection, respect and appreciation they have for me. On the pitch, I'll always give everything to make them happy, because they deserve it.
UEFA.com: Cenk, you spent plenty of time on the bench after joining Beşiktaş from Gaziantepspor in 2014 – were you ever tempted to move elsewhere?
Cenk Tosun: I never thought about going to another team to be the main striker; I always aimed to work hard, compete and become the main striker here.
Beşiktaş were always on my mind. Even though my name was linked with all the big three, I chose Beşiktaş. I'm glad I did. I didn't play a lot under Slaven Bilić, but when I did, I came off the bench and scored. I improved a lot, I learned a great deal from Demba Ba and Mario Gomez, and in my second year I got a lot more playing time. This season [Cenk's fourth at Beşiktaş] I've completely proved myself and become an established first-teamer. Last season I started maybe 34 of my 42 games but this term my aim is to start every single one.
UEFA.com: Ricardo, you have played for various big clubs and had some ups and downs in your career. How do you feel about it all looking back?
Ricardo Quaresma: Happy. I feel happy about having the opportunity to play for big clubs, to play alongside great players – genuine superstars. And that's it. I'll keep doing my job. When I finally retire, I will finish with my head held high.
I always gave my all for football, because I have football to thank for everything I have in life – it is something I really love doing. Nonetheless football is a difficult world where there are always people who want to bring you down. There are also people who say they understand the game who go on TV and criticise footballers, and make things up about the football world, but we professionals have to deal with it.
UEFA.com: Are you daring to look ahead to the round of 16 yet?
Cenk Tosun: It is nice to aim high, but not so wise to aim too high in a tournament like this. It makes more sense to take it game by game. We want to top the group by coming through the games against Porto and Leipzig. Then we want to continue taking things game by game.