ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Turks Fenerbahce hope to step up their claim to become a world force in football when they travel to Spain with a 3-2 lead for the second leg of their Champions League tie against Sevilla.
Brazilian coach Zico is convinced that Fenerbahce can become a great European club.
The 17-time Turkish champions have big ambitions.
"Our objective is to join the best clubs in the world - AC Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea. It's not easy to get to that level but we have the ability," said team manager Volkan Balli.
Turkey has a modest record in European football, with Galatasaray's 1999-2000 UEFA Cup triumph a rare success..
Money is not a problem for Fenerbahce, who are financed by their president Aziz Yildirim, and they play at a 52,500-capacity ground on the Asian banks of the city - the Sukru Saracoglu stadium.
The club's organization and support is so widespread that it is nicknamed "Republic of Fenerbahce".
"Its true, the club is a republic. It's incredible. Everyone helps each other out. The fans love Fenerbahce, they buy Fenerbahce, they help the club." added Balli.
The club also supports basketball and volleyball teams who play at the highest international level.
The organization is also listed with a budget this season of around $200 million.
They have had no difficulty in attracting big name players like Argentine midfielder Ariel Ortega (2002-2003), Dutch striker Pierre van Hooijdonk (2003-2005) and French attacker Nicolas Anelka (2004-2006).
But their speciality is bringing Brazilians to the club.
World Cup winner Roberto Carlos, arrived in 2007 from Real Madrid, while they also have Ed Dracena in defense, Mehmet Aurelio, Alex de Souza and Gokcek Vederson in midfield and Deivid de Souza up front.
Their coach is Zico, a legendary Brazilian international,
"These players are here because they are good players and they are good players because they are Brazilian," said Zico.
"Fenerbahce are going to be a great European team because they have a dream.
"Look at the structures, they are amongst the best in Europe and all the signings have been made with the goal of becoming a great team." E-mail to a friend