Kevin Gameiro urged Sevilla FC not to dwell on their billing as UEFA Europa League final favourites when UEFA.com met the man whose penalty won last season's decider.
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Kevin Gameiro's penalty against SL Benfica in last season's final shoot-out confirmed Sevilla FC as UEFA Europa League winners; with the holders gearing up to take on FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Warsaw on Wednesday, the 28-year-old French striker is hoping to be of use again.
UEFA.com: Is scoring the winning penalty in that final shoot-out the highlight of your career so far?
Kevin Gameiro: It's one of the best moments – it isn't the best because my professional debut [for RC Strasbourg] is something I will never forget. But it was a great moment and winning the trophy for a club like Sevilla was exceptional. The fans were right behind us. You feel the passion around the club. Scoring the decisive penalty and winning the cup was fantastic.
UEFA.com: Do you accept that Sevilla are favourites in this season's final?
Gameiro: We are the favourites to win this competition because we won it last year. But we mustn't dwell on that – we know that Dnipro are a very good team and they aren't there by chance. It's up to us to put in a top performance and give it our all like we've done in previous rounds.
UEFA.com: You came off the bench to score against FC Zenit in the quarter-finals. Can you talk us through it?
Gameiro: It was a very tough match. We were losing 2-1 and if we hadn't scored that goal, we'd have gone into extra time – or they could have scored again. I remember the boss saying to me when I went on that I'd get a chance and that I had to be ready to score. That's what I managed to do. That's why you play football – for moments like that, when you can get your team through to the next round. When you're a footballer, you want to play every minute of every match, so when he calls on you, you have to be ready and that's what I try to do whenever I'm a substitute. The team is the most important thing and it's about winning. If I can help by scoring, it's always a pleasure.
UEFA.com: What do you think when you receive the ball in a shooting position?
Gameiro: I don't stop to think – when I do, that's when I miss! Being a striker is all about working in front of goal and always maintaining the hope that you're going to score in every match. It's not easy, but even if you miss a chance, you cannot dwell on it. You know you're going to get another one, and if you get one, you have to show you're on the ball and be able to put it away.
UEFA.com: Who was your hero as a kid?
Gameiro: Like everyone, Ronaldo. Apart from that, I always admired Jean-Pierre Papin. He was another really great goalscorer, he was French and I really liked him because his style was similar to mine – he didn't overanalyse things, he'd get the ball and go for goal.
UEFA.com: This season's UEFA Europa League winners get to play in next season's UEFA Champions League. Is that an extra motivation for the players?
Gameiro: Yes. It's a shame the rule didn't apply last year. It gives you extra motivation to lift this trophy, because playing in the Champions League is a dream for any player – hearing that Champions League anthem when you take to the pitch gives you goosebumps.