With rumours rife of a possible move abroad to one of the lucrative European leagues, all eyes are on Daniel Carvalho, the Brazilian everyone wants to talk to at the FIFA World Youth Championship UAE 2003. As the clock ticks down to their crucial Group C tie against Australia, the Internacional de Porto Alegre striker told FIFA.com about his side's chances, how he feels ahead of the clash and what would make a dream final.
"We're getting there. We didn't get our act together in the first game, though we did make some nice moves. We played more flowing football in our second outing, and were the better for it. We just need to shape up in front of goal and make the most of all the chances we create. The good thing is we've been together as a unit for a while now so I think we'll see the best Brazil emerge as the championship goes on," says this young promise who scotches any talk of his talent: "The only thing I have to say is I feel really at home in this squad."
Like so many rising stars in South America before him, Carvalho has already been linked with a possible transfer deal to one of the big European clubs: "I've heard rumours about a move to Spain, but it doesn't keep me awake at night. I'm very young and I've still got a lot to learn. I'd like to go there one day, don't get me wrong - it's every player's dream - but right now I'm focused on the national team and the World Championship," says this youth who already talks like a seasoned pro.
Our chat is interrupted every now and then by other squad members running through with a video camera and microphone from a local TV channel, dancing and fooling around: "Everyone's happy around here, like all Brazilian teams. You'll never see one of our guys walking about with a long face. If a player is feeling down, there's always the rest of the squad to bring him out of it with a joke. We're always having a laugh."
The Emirates are a long way from home for Carvalho and he talks to his family "two or three times a day, either on the phone or on the Internet." This skilful striker's interests outside football are not much different from those of any young man of his age: "I like going to the cinema, eating in restaurants and going out with my friends. I also play Futsal."
Brazil are only hours away from their all-important Group C tie against Australia, who are also on four points: "We've talked about the game. We know they're physical ly strong and that they play a lot of long balls. But we also know how important it is to get our game right and that's why we're working down to the last detail. If we play like we have done so far, we can win it," he insists.
Before shooting off for dinner, Carvalho dares to dream beyond the Australia clash: "I'd like to reach the final and play against Argentina. We've come up against them twice so far this year (Editor's note: South American Youth Championship and Pan-American Games) and they've run out champions both times. It's the classic game that every Brazilian wants to play in, and I'm no exception."