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Bosvelt blind to the past

Feyenoord captain Paul Bosvelt is looking forward to more nights like Friday’s UEFA Super Cup.

By Theo Ruizenaar & Jason Gee

After finally emerging from the European wilderness, Feyenoord and their captain Paul Bosvelt are looking forward to more nights like Friday's UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid CF.

Driving force
The UEFA Cup winners enjoy nothing more than battling against the odds and the 32-year-old Bosvelt is the underdogs' driving force. After coming back from two broken cheekbones and a mysterious leg injury at the beginning of last season, Bosvelt was there to guide them past what amounted to a roll call of some of Europe’s grandest names on the way to the title.

Big names
Rangers FC, PSV Eindhoven and Internazionale FC were all swept aside before the 3-2 victory over BV Borussia Dortmund at their home stadium, De Kuip, in the UEFA Cup final. Yet it took the inspirational midfield player several months before that achievement had even sunk in. "The first time I genuinely realised that we had won the UEFA Cup was during my summer holiday," he said. "But I believe that when we play the Super Cup match in Monaco it will give us confirmation of what we achieved in Europe last season."

Greater rewards
Bosvelt, however, will demand that his team-mates put last season’s success behind them. The victory in Europe may have been a long time coming, but the level-headed former Dutch international is already looking forward to greater rewards. "The match against Real Madrid is a beautiful prospect, but qualification for the Champions League is the most important thing," he added.

Team spirit
And taking on the big-name sides and turning them over with their potent brand of hard work and team spirit is what the Feyenoord coach Bert van Marwijk and his on-field enforcer will be preaching to the players once again this season. "Real are probably the best team in Europe," Bosvelt said, "but we showed last season what our possibilities are when we face stronger opponents. We will give our best in the Super Cup match.

'Higher level'
"As a player it is always a challenge to play against a team with big names in it like Real, but I've done it before with Feyenoord when I took on Zinedine Zidane in the 1997 Champions League matches against Juventus. For us the Super Cup is a prize which we really want to win. And this match will be an opportunity to match up with an opponent of a higher level."