Cambiasso hoping for New Year cheer

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ARGENTINE midfielder Esteban Cambiasso has had a superb 2002, but is looking for even more success with Real Madrid in 2003.

The youngster had a successful loan spell with River Plate, winning the Torneo Clausura, lifted the Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup with Real, and also got married.

He has been out of the Real team in recent weeks, but is ready to hit top form in January after shaking off a bout of tendinitis in his knee.

"Nearly everything has been positive for me during 2002," he said. "I won my first title in Argentina with River Plate, then I came to Real Madrid and won the Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

"Adding to this I have played many minutes in La Liga and if this wasn't enough I got married."

Cambiasso has foregone a honeymoon, having got married on December 27, in order to prepare for a busy few months with Real.

He added: "When I went to Argentina I knew perfectly well that I had to go back to Spain immediately and that there wasn't any time for the honeymoon.

"We have to keep on seeking to reach the objectives that we spoke about in June."

Real play Sevilla in a rearranged Liga match on Thursday, and Cambiasso feels three points could be the catalyst to a title challenge.

"If we get the three points in that match, nobody else will be able to do it and we will be nearer the first position," he said.

Sitting on the bench does not seem to worry the youngster, who added: "The most important thing is that the team keeps on playing in the best way possible.

"It doesn't matter the names of the players that go onto the pitch, even if I don't have the chance to play I will be supporting my team-mates from the bench."

On his own fitness and prospects of playing for Argentina, Cambiasso said: "I am 100 percent now. The tendinitis in my knee does not bother me any more.

"I am not desperate (to play for Argentina) but, whenever there is a call-up, you have hopes to be in. It is up to the coach to assess your performance, so the only thing I can do is play my best with my club so that I can get another chance."

Titles appear to be driving Cambiasso on, asked for a wish for 2003, he added: "Trying to win the three competitions we will be playing for.

"We are on the right track now and I think we have many chances to achieve everything, though we are aware this is a very difficult goal to reach. The only sure thing is that we have hopes."