- Ricardo Carvalho helped Portugal win UEFA EURO 2016
- Defender, 39, won 89 caps and was a EURO runner-up in 2004
- He discusses Cristiano Ronaldo & Portugal's Confed Cup prospects
At major tournaments, the line between success and failure can be wafer-thin. Ricardo Carvalho knows that better than most.
Last year, he was part of the Portugal squad that made history at UEFA EURO 2016. While helping the team to glory, he wrote his own name into the record books, becoming the oldest player in the tournament's history - 53 days after his 38th birthday - to claim a winner's medal. "I was proud of that," he acknowledged. "[It showed] nothing is impossible."
But 12 years earlier, he was part of another, arguably more talented Portugal squad - containing the likes of Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Deco and a young Cristiano Ronaldo - that was humbled by Greece on home soil. "We had an unbelievable squad in 2004 and the spirit was great, just as it was in 2016," he told FIFA.com. "The only difference is that we missed out on the title, and that's football. You need a little bit of luck."
The memories of those 2004 and 2016 EURO finals have taught Carvalho that, at this exalted level, nothing can be taken for granted. And while he will not, at 39, be part of the* Selecção das Quinas* side taking on the world's best at the FIFA Confederations Cup, the former Real Madrid and Chelsea defender knows his compatriots are eager for a fresh conquest.
"This is another great competition for us after 2016, and I think the ambitions are again to win the cup," said the centre-half, who now plays his club football in China for Shanghai SIPG. "We already got our names carved in the European trophy last year, so it is important now to get out hands on a global trophy for our country.
"It would mean a lot. The Portuguese people love football and, after seeing the team prevail in Europe last year, they are waiting for the next great achievement."
Portugal do, of course, have a significant ace up their sleeve in the shape of their world-renowned captain and talisman. Cristiano Ronaldo is a player Carvalho knows well, both from the national team and from their time together in Madrid, and he is unequivocal on his former team-mate's status in the game.
"Cristiano is the most complete player in the world," said Carvalho. "And he works harder than anyone."
That blend of talent and toil proved a winning combination for Portugal in France last year. Time will tell whether it proves similarly potent at Russia 2017.