Deportivo Saprissa make no secret of their ambitions. Although the North, Central America and Caribbean champions know that qualifying for the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup was an amazing achievement in itself, they are not travelling to Japan simply to make up the numbers. The Costa Rican side could not be more motivated and are determined to do their club and country proud.
Nobody embodies this resolve more than Christian Bolaños. Playing at his first world championship at senior level, the pacy attacking midfielder is determined not to let the opportunity slip by. Talking exclusively to FIFA.com, Bolaños elaborated on his personal goals and those of his beloved Saprissa.
FIFA.com: Señor Bolaños, how do you feel as Saprissa's big day approaches?
Christian Bolaños: Extremely motivated. We all set ourselves a target, which was to make it to Japan, and it's great to have achieved that. Attaining a goal like that is hugely significant, especially for a young player like me as it leaves a lasting impression.
Will this be your first world championship?
I've played in other major tournaments, but this one is undoubtedly the biggest of my career. That's why I intend to enjoy it and make the most of it.
What is Saprissa's goal for Japan? How far do you think you can go?
Once we achieved our first objective, which was to qualify, we set ourselves more ambitious targets. The most challenging and enticing of these is to reach the final of the tournament, but we're taking it one step at a time. We know our first game will be vital, and so we're going to start as we mean to go on.
Have you analysed the teams you will be facing in the Far East?
They are all tough teams. Only the best will be there. I expect open and entertaining games, which should leave fans around the world happy. Because of our commitments in the domestic league, we haven't had time yet to study our opponents in detail. However, we'll shortly be heading on a preparatory trip to Korea and still have two weeks to analyse our rivals. That said, what matters most is what we do as a team, not so much what the other side does.
How have preparations for the tournament been going?
We have been working very hard in the local championship to improve the tempo in our play, but this hasn't been easy as many of the country's pitches aren't the best right now. Nonetheless, it has provided us with plenty of practice, and the specific preparations will come in the next two weeks.
What are your personal goals for the championship?
As long as things are going well for the team, I just want to make the most of every minute I play. If we as a group are united in our quest to do well, then everything else, including individual performances, will look after itself.
Do you see this tournament as a historic opportunity?
A world championship will always be important in Costa Rica, and yes, I think it will be a historic moment for Saprissa. We have to take advantage of that and leave people with a very good impression of both the club and country.