UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Derlei aims to deliver again

FC Porto forward Derlei is the UEFA Cup top scorer and he is out to add to his tally in the final.

By Onofre Costa and Diogo Teixeira

Wanderlei da Silva has risen from relative obscurity this season to become one of Europe's most feared attackers.

Perfect ten
The 27-year-old forward, better known as Derlei, has scored ten goals for FC Porto in this season's UEFA Cup to be firmly in the driving seat to finish as the competition's top scorer. His closest challenger is Celtic FC forward Henrik Larsson - an opponent on Wednesday night in Seville who has found the net nine times in the competition.

Followed coach
Derlei arrived at Porto after two years with UD Leiria, including a stunning 21 goals in 33 matches in 2001/02, the Brazilian player followed former coach José Mourinho to Das Antas. Prior to his time in Portugal, Derlei had played for a number of clubs in his native country including Madureira EC and Guarani FC.

Attacking force
Many critics and even fans doubted whether Derlei would be able to adapt to the demands of Porto. But the player soon put their minds at rest with some superb displays and, although he has scored just eight goals in domestic league and cup matches, he has more than played his part in an attacking force that includes Portuguese Under-21 starlet Hélder Postiga and all-conquering playmaker Deco.

Trophy wanted
It is in the UEFA Cup that Derlei has really proved his worth, and he is desperate to finish the campaign by lifting the trophy. "This is certainly the highest moment in my career and I just hope we can win that final," he said. "If, on top of that, I am the best scorer of the competition it would be a splendid way to end this remarkable season."

Late drama
Perhaps the finest moment in Derlei's season to date came with Porto trailing 1-0 against Panathinaikos FC as they travelled to Greece for their quarter-final second leg. The Greek side had won ten and drawn two of their previous 12 matches at the Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium but that did not matter to Derlei. The No11 scored an equaliser after just 13 minutes before holding his nerve to fire in an extra-time winner.

Respect for Larsson
That goal demonstrated all the best features of a player who combines the refinement and skill of a Brazilian with the pragmatism that is required of a goalscoring forward in Europe. Derlei also has a refreshing approach that sees him put his team ahead of the individual, for example he refused to be drawn on any suggestion of a shoot-out between him and Larsson in Seville.

One objective
"Larsson is a respected player," he said. "He's very famous in all Europe, but it won't be a duel between me and him to be the top scorer of this edition of UEFA Cup. He will do everything he can to help his team and I'll do everything I can to help FC Porto. My objective is to win the match."

Player protected
It is therefore understandable that Mourinho has been keen to protect his leading forward in the run-up to the final, particularly in light of Hélder Postiga's suspension following his red card in the semi-final. "I have to keep him in a glass dome until the day of the final to protect the player even from the flu," said Mourinho. Considering the form Derlei has been in, it may be that Celtic will have to try similar confinement tactics themselves during the final.