"In football, strange things happen if you believe," said Celta Vigo's John Guidetti, the former Man. City striker hoping to defeat Man. United and reach the UEFA Europa League final in his home city.
Article top media content
Proud Stockholmer John Guidetti would love to play in the UEFA Europa League final in his home town, but first the 25-year-old striker's Celta Vigo have to battle past Manchester United. The former Manchester City man tells UEFA.com that "nothing is impossible".
On discovering Celta had been drawn against United ...
We'd just got home from an away match. We'd been flying all night, so I was lying in bed with my family – my wife and daughter – watching the Europa League draw on TV. It was interesting.
I played in England and lived in Manchester for six years [while playing for Manchester City], so I follow both of the teams there. [United are] a very good team. Obviously they've got a good manager, a fantastic stadium, and they're one of the favourites to win the Europa League, but as they say "Manchester is blue" and that's how it will be when we visit there as well, because we are Celta Vigo and we will try to keep the city blue.
We know how much is at stake for Manchester United; they also want to play in the Champions League next year, so this is a tournament that they want to win. But we also want to win it. So both the home and away legs will be like two finals.
- Celta v Man. United background
- Yellow cards expire ahead of semi-finals
- All about the Stockholm final
On the mood at Celta ...
We believed from the start that we could get to the final. I think we've showed it in the way we play – we've never given up. We also know what's at stake – not only that you win the Europa League, which is huge, but you can also win a place in the Champions League. You have dreams about that.
You can also see in the city that people walk around with a smile on their faces. Whoever you meet, they're always incredibly proud of you and supporting you, whether by honking their car horn or shouting "Vamos!".
In football, strange things happen if you believe. And I think with the mentality we've built here, nothing is impossible. We may be a small club and a team that others don't take much notice of, but we also know how good we are. That's why we've beaten Barcelona two years in a row. We knocked Real Madrid out of the Copa [del Rey], we've beaten Atlético Madrid. We've shown that we are a good team.
On the prospect of playing in the final in his home town…
It would be like a fairy-tale ending to be at the Friends Arena, in my home town Stockholm. It would be great for a Stockholmer to get the opportunity to step onto the pitch, but it has to be earned.
Of course, it's very sad what happened to [fellow Swede] Zlatan [Ibrahimović, who will miss the remainder of the tournament through injury]. With how much he has meant for Swedish football, he has also earned the right to play in the final at the Friends Arena. Unfortunately he is unlikely to be able to play, so I wish him a speedy recovery.
We've made history [by reaching the semi-final] and it's something that might never happen again in Celta's history, so I'm just trying to enjoy this moment. We don't want it to end here. Hopefully we'll make it to Stockholm and half the stadium will be blue. That would be a dream come true.