EXCLUSIVE - Fernando (Porto): I will fight to win 'dream' 2014 place
You have been named among the thirty best Brazilian players in Europe in 2012. What's your reaction?
I am happy and surprised because in Brazil I am not so well known. In Europe, I am more visible. It has been five years that I have been a starter at Porto.
You started at Vila Nova but never moved on to a large Brazilian club. Does that explain your lack of visibility in Brazil?
I played two years with the senior squad at Vila Nova and left for Portugal at an early age. I didn't have time to become well known there. My reputation is mainly in Europe.
You played at the 2007 South American championship for Brazil Under-20s. Was it an important experience in your career?
I was playing at Vila Nova in Série B at the time. Although I was a substitute, I played every match and was successful. It was at the competition that I was spotted by Porto.
You have been at Porto for five years and have been linked with other major European clubs. Do you plan to leave?
There has been a lot of speculation, but Porto are a great club and play in the Champions League each year. I still have a year and a half on my contract—I don't know what will happen then. But, I know that one day I would like to play in a stronger league than Portugal.
You have never been selected for Brazil. With the return of Scolari, who has great knowledge of Portuguese football, are your chances increased?
I think it increases the possibility a little. Mano Menezes had a better knowledge of the Brazilian league and that lessened my chances. Scolari knows the Portuguese league and I have spoken with him before. It's now up to me to work hard and win my place.
What does the 2014 World Cup mean for you?
The World Cup in 2014 is a dream for all Brazilian players. Everyone wants to be there, to play in Brazil. I will fight to win my place. It's a dream for me.
At the moment there is no true No. 6 in the team, with Ramires and Paulinho...
Ramires and Paulinho are box-to-box midfielders, whereas I'm more of a true No. 6, more defensive. They lack a player with my abilities. I don't think Brazil will play much longer without a defensive midfielder, even Barça have a defensive midfielder!
What are your objectives for 2013?
To be champion of Portugal and to go as far as possible in the Champions League. But, above all, to be called for the Seleção.