Tuesday 08 February 2022, 22:00

Raphael Veiga: It’s one of the best moments of my life

  • Raphael Veiga scored one and set up another as Palmeiras reached the UAE 2021 final

  • The 26-year-old won the Alibaba Cloud Match Award

  • He discusses his euphoria and belief that Palmeiras can win the trophy

Is there a happier person on the planet than Raphael Veiga right now? Not according to the man himself. His club’s first-ever goal at the FIFA Club World Cup™, an assist for their second, the Alibaba Cloud Match Award and, fundamentally, a green ticket to Saturday’s final against Al Hilal or Chelsea combined for a blissful day in UAE. “It’s a unique moment in my career,” he told FIFA back at the team hotel. “To score a goal in a competition as important as the Club World Cup, it’s indescribable. It’s one of the best moments of my life. “I don’t have the words to properly describe it, but I’m really, really happy. This will go down in my career forever. I’m delighted with the goal, the victory, how the team played. I’m really emotional.”

The 26-year-old, whom Abel Ferreira has transformed into an attacking-midfield machine, is not the only one on cloud nine. “It’s a big party right now,” he said. “Everyone’s enjoying it to the maximum. In the dressing room, on the bus… it’s pure euphoria. “We know what a big responsibility we have here, we know how much it means to the club, the fans. We’re very pleased with the victory and the way we got it. Tonight we’re going to enjoy this as much as possible and tomorrow we’ll be back to work.”

One man Veiga particularly thanked in the dressing room was Dudu, whose magical flick enabled him to break the deadlock. “Dudu is so intelligent,” said the Palmeiras No23. “He sees things others don’t. It was a brilliant play and he left me one on one with the goalkeeper. He deserves credit for the goal too. “It was such an important play at such an important time. I owe him thanks because he enabled me to score a goal in the Club World Cup. It’s a dream.”

Part one of the dream, anyway. “We’re very pleased with this victory,” said Veiga. “We know how tough every game is at a Club World Cup. But Palmeiras came here to become world champions – nothing less. We have faith, we believe we can do it. “We have worked so hard for this. Our opponents are still to be determined. Regardless of who goes through, it will be a really tough game, but we believe in ourselves.”