- Bruno Alves wants a dream final in St Petersburg
- Alves to make 93rd appearance for Portugal against Chile
- Suspension means central defensive partner Pepe misses match
By Marco Monteiro with Portugal
"After being here for so many years, honestly, it still feels like it’s the first time,” Bruno Alves tells FIFA.com. "I can say that I still play with love for the jersey. It’s such a proud moment to still be here representing the team."
The 35-year-old defender, a veteran of three UEFA European Championships (2008, 2012, 2016) and two FIFA World Cups™ (2010, 2014) with a decade of appearances in Portugal’s colours, is eager to ensure that Portugal make it to the final of their first ever appearance at a FIFA Confederations Cup.
"I feel extremely proud to have represented Portugal in so many competitive games and in so many tournaments,” said Alves, who is rapidly approaching a century of appearances for the national team. "This is one more very important tournament for me. I’m going to continue giving my best and to try and get another great victory for our country."
Asked why it is that after all these years, he still seems one of the happiest players in Portugal’s squad, both in training and matches, Alves - who will play his club football for Scottish giants Rangers next season - explained: "I just love being here. Being surrounded by such great players in the Seleção Portuguesa always makes me feel joy.”
Portugal face Chile in Kazan on Wednesday, in the very stadium where they kicked off their FIFA Confederations Cup campaign. Alves’s usual defensive partner, Pepe, will not play after picking up a second yellow-card in the New Zealand game.
“We have to come out really strong,” Pepe told FIFA.com, speaking ahead of the Chile game. "We have to keep our heads on our work, our individual effort, our collective effort, our team work. Everyone has to get their best in order to come out at the end of this match with the win.”
Alves, who spent three years in Saint Petersburg and amassed over 71 appearances for Zenit, would love the chance to add another positive experience to his collection of memories from the city. "I was very, very well received here in Russia, especially in Saint Petersburg with Zenit. I’m grateful to everyone for the time I spent here."
Asked if playing a final in Saint Petersburg would be special for him, he was quick to affirm.”Yes, without any doubt. Playing a final there would be a dream, a real dream. But lets take this step by step. We have a game against Chile, so now lets continue on our journey to the final."