‘It’s been a difficult time for me, because for a long time I didn’t know where my footballing future lay. There were rumours the whole time about a transfer to England. There was speculation for months and I had to learn to deal with it. But so much nonsense gets written! Sometimes I see stories from journalists I’ve never even spoken to. And that does irritate me sometimes. Thankfully it’s died down this last while, because the transfer market in Europe is closed. The rumour mill will probably start turning again in January though. In theory I’m staying with Feyenoord. I really want to win a national title with this club. But you can never say with certainty how the future will look. If a good club comes in for me and Feyenoord says I can go.
‘Aside from all the speculation I did play a bit of football of course. First against Fenerbahçe, where the atmosphere was fantastic. I tasted an atmosphere like that when I played with the national team in Uruguay and I do like that hostility. The game against Real Madrid was another wonderful experience – playing against the best team in the world. Unfortunately I lost my first European final. It was obviously no shame to lose. It was more like a good lesson for us. Maybe we’ll get to be as good as Real one day. And if we believe that we can achieve a lot. Because Feyenoord have a young, talented group, with a lot of potential for growth. At the moment I’d class Feyenoord as a second string European club. I read somewhere that we are 11th in the European rankings, and I think that’s where we belong. We just have to make sure we keep getting good results in our own league. That can prove difficult, as last year proved.
‘I’m also really looking forward to the Champions League season coming up. In Juventus, Dynamo Kiev and Newcastle United we’ve drawn three well-matched teams. Juventus have a fantastic team of course, but we won in Italy last year against Inter, why shouldn’t we pull off another trick like that in Turin? To be honest I don’t know a lot about Kiev. But I’d like to see Ukraine. Unfortunately footballers don’t see much of the countries they travel to. And we are going to Newcastle United. I’m really looking forward to that one, because the atmosphere in the English stadiums is terrific. It’s a chance to see whether I’d fit into the English system. All in all I think we have a good chance of making the next round.’