Celtic winger Jota has spoken about his love of the Champions League and his ambitions for the competition as the Scottish Champions enter a crucial period in the season. The Portuguese winger was the Man of the Match in the draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw and ahead of the four fixtures remaining in the Group Stages.
Speaking to The Celtic View, Jota spoke of the quality on show in Europe’s top competition; however, he also revealed the personal pride of hearing that anthem having grown up watching the Champions League as a child.
“First of all what I can say about the Champions League is that it’s very fast, teams play very fast football.
“It will be nice to be back in it and our idea of the game is already fast and intense so we will be fine on that aspect. Then it’s just all about the quality because the best teams and the best clubs will be there and there are not many mistakes.
“The best teams are the ones that can score the most with the smallest amount of opportunities, so we need to be clinical and we need to enjoy every game because playing Champions League is something that every kid dreams about.
“I dreamed about it when I was young and right now I will have it again and I’m so excited to play in front of these fans and for this shirt.
“I would have to say I got quite emotional when I walked on to the pitch for the first time and listened to the Champions League anthem when I made my debut, that was a very emotional moment for me and my family.
“I’ve never missed a Champions League weekday since I was a kid, so it’s just tremendously proud for me and my family and I just want to keep on delivering and have these amazing experiences because we don’t know what tomorrow brings.”
The player’s statement that he is keen to play for ‘those fans and this shirt’ will be music to a lot of supporters’ ears. Jota has been excellent since arriving at the club, initially on loan from Benfica. The player was exceptional last season with 14 goals and 14 assists. Ange sanctioned a permanent move, as if it was ever in doubt, and the player returned after the £6.5m deal was completed.
Once again this season, Jota has been excellent. The goals against Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and Rangers stand out along with a performance at Dundee United as Celtic ran riot. He will be hoping that the return to domestic duty on Saturday will see Celtic perform, despite the St Mirren defeat.