Portuguese international defender Bruno Alves said he was hoping his club, Russia's reigning champions Zenit St. Petersburg, will be able to reach UEFA Champions League semi-finals in the upcoming campaign.
"We want to improve Zenit's record in the Champions League," Russian daily Sovietsky Sport quoted Alves as saying. "It will be really great to reach the semi-final round in the upcoming campaign. But first of all we shall wait for the draw and see which teams we will face in the group stage. Last season we proved that Zenit is a club which is worthy of respect. This year we all hope to perform at the same level or even better."
The 30-year-old full back also said that he was confident that the club had everything necessary to win a third successive Russian title season after the club got off to winning ways on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Amkar Perm. "We all need to win another domestic title with Zenit though the upcoming Russian championship will be extremely tough. The competition between the clubs in the Russian Premiership is just enormous."
Alves added that he believed in his teammates and Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti, who was capable to lead his side to another Russian title and the Champions' League success. "Spalletti is a very talented and experienced manager," Alves said. "He's able to fine tune the team both for the league victory and the Champions' League success. I have no doubt that he'll do it as best he can. I believe Zenit are on the right path to succeed this year."
Alves has reportedly become a target for many European clubs after Portugal's performance at UEFA EURO 2012, where they reached the semi-finals losing to eventual winners Spain in a penalty shootout.
But he said he remains a Zenit player as he has not received any serious transfer offers. "There're plenty of rumours in the press concerning my possible transfer," he said. "But I haven't got any proposals yet. For the moment I'm Zenit player with a two-year contract. I'm set to win a place in the starting line-up and reach success with my club this season."
Alves joined Zenit in 2010 in a €22m transfer move from Portuguese giants Porto and said he would be happy if some of his national side team-mates joined him in Zenit. "Many of my team-mates told me at Euro that they like Zenit playing style adding they would like to try their skills with the club," Alves said. "Besides, Saint Petersburg is a very pleasant and comfortable city for living. Maybe in the future I will manage to persuade somebody of them to join Zenit."