Sevilla captain Coke believes there is a special bond between his team and the Europa League as they look for a third straight success.
Liverpool stand in the way of Los Rojiblancos but Coke, a veteran of the past two triumphs, has told UEFA’s official website that the trophy has special meaning to Sevilla, as he targets an historic fifth UEFA Cup/Europa League for the club.
“There's a two-way relationship between our team and this competition. The Europa League has given Sevilla international recognition and respect, and that's because we've always taken this competition seriously,” the defender explained.
“We had to play a preliminary round in Podgorica in 2013-14, and when we went there we were really excited, as though we were about to play in a final! And because of that attitude, the team and the fans started to love this tournament. And the Europa League has really rewarded us with some great victories and a lot of success.
“Before we played the 2014 final in Turin, we were thinking about it like a gift, a reward for the great season we'd had. But then we went to Warsaw for our second final, and now we're going to be playing a third one in Basel. You have got to enjoy matches like this as if they were your last.
“Our team has fought so hard to get here. Some of my teammates, like [Marco] Andreolli and Michael [Krohn-Dehli], unfortunately won't be able to play because of injury, and that hurts a lot. We will be fighting for them and for our families, who suffer the most from the pressure we get as footballers.
“Sevilla and the Europa League already have a close mutual bond, and winning this trophy for the fifth time, and the third time in a row, would literally mean we are making history. No one knows if anyone will achieve that again. It is very unlikely.
“Of course, we are not fully aware of the magnitude of what we are doing, but that will be clearer a few years from now. I would love to play in a final like this every year, but that's very difficult.”