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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
By ESPN Staff

Zico seeks end to foreign player limits in Turkey

ISTANBUL, April 9 (Reuters) - Fenerbahce coach Zico has called for an end to restrictions on the number of foreign players at Turkish clubs after Chelsea knocked his side out of the Champions League.

The Istanbul club lost the quarter-final 3-2 on aggregate after Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

'I believe that if we can invest just a bit more and if our players can be strengthened and given more experience, we can become one of the major teams in Europe,' Zico said.

He said the team was affected by the absence of veteran Brazilian defender Roberto Carlos, who is still recovering from an injury sustained in the first leg of their last 16 tie with Sevilla.

'Another factor is the limit on the number of foreign players that we can field. When you look at our opponents they have many more alternatives in who they can play,' Zico added.

'Not so much in defence, but we could want more of a contribution in the areas of midfield and in attack. I hope that the (Turkish Football) Federation will give this the proper consideration. The limits should be abolished.

In Turkey, six foreigners can be fielded at anyone one time, plus another two foreigners on the bench.

Alongside Roberto Carlos, Fenerbahce's squad includes Brazilians Alex, Deivid and Edu, as well Uruguayan Diego Lugano, Chilean Claudio Maldonado, Ghanaian Stephen Appiah and Serbian Mateja Kezman.

Several other players have joint Turkish and foreign nationality, including Brazilian Mehmet Aurelio.

Fenerbahce have repeatedly complained about the limits on foreign players.

But the chairman of Turkey's Football Federation Hasan Dogan said last month the 6+2 system would continue until UEFA had made a ruling on the issue, saying that although clubs wanted restrictions lifted this would harm the national team.

Zico said after Tuesday's match that his representative would hold talks with Fenerbahce on his future at the club.