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Carvalho chasing Brazil bonus

Daniel Carvalho hopes UEFA Cup success with PFC CSKA Moskva will reignite his international career.

By Diogo Teixeira

Daniel Carvalho's two goals in the semi-final second leg against Parma FC fired PFC CSKA Moskva into their first European club final and the Brazilian is hoping the UEFA Cup showpiece against Sporting Clube de Portugal can revive his international ambitions.

Russian debut
The creative midfield player was one of the stars of Brazil's 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship triumph and has gone on to win eight caps for the Brazilian national team. He signed for CSKA on a four-year contract in 2004 and made an instant impact, scoring the winning goal in extra time on his debut in the Russian Super Cup against FC Spartak Moskva.

Pivotal role
After struggling initially, the 22-year-old Carvalho soon emerged as a key man for CSKA and he played a pivotal role as the Russian side eliminated Sporting's city rivals SL Benfica earlier in the competition.

Portugal precedent
As CSKA return to Lisbon to take on Sporting at their own Estádio José Alvalade on Wednesday, Carvalho acknowledged that home advantage might play a part in the outcome of the final. However, he was keen to remind the world that home comforts had not done Portugal any favours as they lost to Greece in the final of UEFA EURO 2004™.

'Our part'
He told uefa.com: "The crowd's support will help the Sporting players, but who would have guessed that Greece would beat Portugal in the final of EURO 2004™? Maybe we can be a second Greece and win this title. I think we will have our part to play - we are used to difficult atmospheres and will fight for victory."

TV spy
Carvalho has been keeping an eye on Sporting from Russia, saying: "In Moscow my satellite shows the Portuguese channels and I usually see Portuguese matches. Sporting have a lot of good players. We must keep a careful eye on Liedson and, of course, the shots of Fabio Rochemback."

Brazilian team-mate
Midfield player Rochemback played alongside Carvalho in various Brazilian youth teams. "He's a great friend of mine," Carvalho revealed. "I will call him before the match and try to relax a bit with him, but as soon as the match kicks off I will have to forget the friendship and fight for my goals."

Surprise result
CSKA's progress to the UEFA Cup final has surprised many across Europe, but Carvalho claimed he expected such success when he joined the Russian club. "When I signed my goal was to be in a UEFA Champions League final," he said. "I knew that that would be hard, but I believed. Unfortunately we went out in the group stage but we have now reached the UEFA Cup final."

Russia rising
That in itself remains a major achievement, as Carvalho acknowledged. "Russian football is improving every day," he said. "I think we are already making history. A Russian side had never got further than the quarter-finals in the UEFA Cup. We are winners already, but we will try to complete this with the title."

Shop window
A final appearance will put the playmaker in the shop window. He said: "I think that playing in the more competitive leagues is the goal of every player. Of course, I want to do that because that would help me to return to the Brazilian national team, but for now I think only of CSKA and of winning this final."

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