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Friday, 05 June 2009 14:27

Mendes: “I’m highly motivated at Rangers”

Portuguese looking forward to Champions League return

Pedro MendesRangers badgePedro Mendes says he is looking forward to playing Champions League football again, and has spoken about life in Scotland and the “crazy, unique” atmosphere of an Old Firm derby match.

In an interview given to Maisfutebol, the SPL and Scottish Cup winner says he is happy at Rangers, although the Portuguese midfielder does not completely rule out a summer transfer.

 

Despite the success you’re enjoying Scotland, do you have ambitions to play in a more high-profile league?

“In football you never know. The telephone could ring at any instant. I found a great club, the championship went very well for me and next season we’ll have the chance to play in the Champions League.

 

“Everyone’s highly motivated because of that. My family’s happy, they like Glasgow, we’ve got good friends here and we’re happy. We’re not thinking about moving but the door is never closed.”

 

Is playing in the Champions League a big reason to stay in Scotland?

“Yes, of course. Here we’re under pressure to win every game home and away. If we don’t win we get a lot of criticism. The pressure is enormous. The Champions League will enable us to break that pressure a little. We’ll see another kind of football and great games in our stadium.”

 

And how would you feel playing against FC Porto or Sporting?

“I’d like that, even it was just to have an excuse to go back to Portugal!”

 

Glasgow is a city divided by religious fervour. How do people experience this antagonism in their day-to-day lives?

“Despite the warnings I was given at the start not to go to certain parts of the city, I lead a completely normal life. I go out, I go to the city centre, I’m approached by Rangers and Celtic fans, who show a lot of respect. I believe there are some fanatical people who take their beliefs to the limit, but I’ve never experienced these excesses.”

 

Not even after that goal you scored in Celtic’s stadium?

“No, not even then. A lot of Celtic supporters even say I should play for them. It’s common to receive congratulations from opposition supporters. I’ve received bottles of whisky with the Celtic badge on them. I’ve never had any kind of problem off the pitch.”

 

Is the Ibrox Stadium atmosphere the best you’ve ever felt in a football stadium?

“The best atmosphere is the Old Firm derby. The first was at Celtic Park, with ten thousand Rangers fans and 55 thousand Celtic fans. It’s spectacular. At Ibrox there are 40 thousand from Rangers and ten thousand from Celtic. It’s crazy. We hear chanting the whole game long, the stands are bursting. It’s a unique atmosphere.”

 

 

Translated and abridged version of interview on today’s Maisfutebol.

Original author: Pedro Jorge da Cunha

 

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