De Vries dreams of Ronaldo duel

The Cape Town-born striker still plays as an amateur with City, but such is the paucity of opposition in the Oceania region with Australia having moved into the Asian confederation, they are regular visitors to the global tournament.

The 23-year-old, who can also operate on the wing, is a key member of the team and lists the sportsman he most admires as Portuguese star Ronaldo.

There is now a chance he will get to be on the same pitch as him, though there is plenty of work to do before that possibility becomes a reality.

Next up for Auckland is a meeting with African champions ES Setif of Algeria on Saturday, where a win would set up a semi-final with Argentine side San Lorenzo.

Only then would they get to play Real Madrid, if the Spanish giants make it through their semi-final of course.

The New Zealanders booked their quarter-final spot with a penalty shoot-out victory over home side Moghreb Tétouan of Morocco following a 0-0 draw.

"Hopefully I get noticed by a few other clubs and become a pro," he told reporters before adding the team’s goals. "To win. Go to the next round and see if we can win the next game and go as far as possible. Let's see if we can make history."

De Vries has already helped the ‘Navy Blues’ to a quadruple of trophy wins in 2014 after they collected the New Zealand Premiership, OFC Champions League, ASB Charity Cup and the ASB minor premiership.

“It was a pretty big move leaving all my family and my friends, but I’m glad I’m here now.”

De Vries played for local Cape Town amateur side Tramways and also had a spell at FC Fortune, before moving to New Zealand with his parents in 2008.

The Kiwis had hoped to use him at the 2010 FIFA Under-20 World Cup but were blocked by the world governing body as eligibility rules meant he had to have lived in New Zealand for five years after his 18th birthday.

That time is now up and it seems only a matter of time before he is called upon by his adopted country … unless Shakes Mashaba gets there first.

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