Carvalho dreams of European pinnacle
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Real Madrid's veteran Portuguese centre-back Ricardo Carvalho is already dreaming of playing in the UEFA Champions League final next May.

The nine-time European champions have not reached the finals of the Champions League since 2002 despite being stacked with top talent, but the 33-year-old says the Spanish giants are highly motivated this season.

"We reached the semi-finals last season [they were beaten by bitter rivals Barcelona], which means we did well, but we want to do better this year," he said in an interview posted on the club's website. "We'll need to be in the final if we want the trophy.

"After the present stage we'll play two games in each ensuing round, and you have to play very well in both," he added. "You can't afford to do well in one and then so-so or badly in the other. We'll have to give good performances in both and also have a little luck to go through.

We reached the semi-finals last season [they were beaten by bitter rivals Barcelona], which means we did well, but we want to do better this year.
Ricardo Carvalho

Carvalho also heaped praise on Real's Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, who he worked under at both Portuguese side Porto - where they both won the 2004 Champions League trophy - and English Premier League side Chelsea.

"He works on every single detail and very well on a daily basis. He wants you to improve every day," the veteran defender said. "It's only normal that you grow as a player, and also as a man, when you work with him. I'm very proud of working with him for such a long time. It's special to be next to him."

The former Portuguese international - who brought an abrupt end to his stellar international career late last month by walking out on the eve of a crucial UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier - joined Real in August 2010 from Chelsea on a two year contract.