Sandro set for one last dart

Brazilian will suffer the slings and arrows in chase for Champions' League place

Sandro, the Tottenham Hotspur midfield player, jokingly claims to be the best darts player in Brazil. Pressed to come up with a catchy nickname, along the lines of The Power or The Force, he falls short. But, in any case, he has titles of another sort in his sights.

Having won South America's ultimate championship, the Copa Libertadores, with Internacional, he came to Britain in August 2010 to sample the European equivalent. It was in the Champions' League that he first showed Spurs fans why Harry Redknapp had paid an estimated £6 million for him. Today, Tottenham could seal a return to the competition, miss out altogether or end up spending a tense week that will test even Sandro's good humour before learning their fate.

If Tottenham beat Fulham at White Hart Lane and Arsenal slip up away to West Bromwich Albion, Spurs will finish third and secure qualification. Should both win, Tottenham will finish fourth and have to hope that Chelsea do not beat Bayern Munich in Saturday's Champions League final.

Newcastle could also finish third or fourth today but if Chelsea win in Munich, they will take the Premier League's fourth Champions League place. Sandro admits he will be a Bayern fan for the night.

"Of course," he said. "We know that we can get to third place but we can only rely on ourselves to do our job against Fulham, and obviously if something goes our way against Arsenal that will make it a perfect day.

"In Brazil I had won everything I wanted to with my club so it had all become a bit small. I came to Tottenham because I wanted to win trophies and fulfil a dream. For me to play in the Champions' League for the first time against big teams was a great experience. It's a great motivation, a great competition, not just for the team but also the fans."

It was in the victory over Milan that Sandro showed his value in the midfield holding role. "Milan is the game when Tottenham first saw me as the player I am. Other games weren't of the same importance or the same nature. I was very happy that people recognised that I could play a game of that magnitude."

Brazilians already knew, after watching Internacional's Copa campaign. "You're part of the history of a club because you've won that competition. And it's the same for me in the Champions' League. As I identify myself more with this club day by day, I want to be part of a team that wins those trophies."

This season, third place looked the least Tottenham could expect. But a new year slide coincided with suggestions Redknapp would take the England job now given to Roy Hodgson – who could do Redknapp and his team a huge favour today.

"At the beginning of the season really, honestly, we thought we could have been champions at this stage or at least fighting for it," Sandro said. "But in the second stage of the season we started losing a lot of games. That affected the team, affected the training. But with the team we have, next season we could be [competing] for the Premier League."

Champions' League football will make that more possible, as Gareth Bale and Luka Modric will be less likely to leave. "It's very important to keep everyone because we've adapted to each other's play but it's down to the [chairman]. I don't try to know who's leaving, who's staying. I know that I'm going to stay here and I'm going to be a Tottenham player."

That will be good news for the dressing room, where he has lightened the mood by dyeing his hair pink, then blue – "Harry said 'Change it, please, please'" – or giving an impromptu kick-boxing demonstration that ended up on YouTube. "I was playing around with the boys in the changing room and they started recording me but they said it wasn't going to go out. And two weeks later, oh my God. It was the most-watched video in Brazil that week."

And the darts? "It started when I was watching on TV and the atmosphere was interesting. A team-mate bought me some darts. I met [double world finalist] Bobby George and he showed me how to play. Now and then he comes to my house to play. I play his son. He's good."

Sandro's mother took some sets of darts back to Brazil, but he could make a more lasting impression on his home country this summer, when he plays in the Olympics. "I'm going to ask all the Tottenham fans to cheer for Brazil," he said. "When there was Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, no one managed to bring this gold medal home."

First, Fulham must be beaten. "At this moment, the dream is to finish in a Champions' League place – third, we hope. Then the Olympics. Then next season the Premier League."

Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham kicks off at 3pm this afternoon

Decision Day: Third & fourth

Arsenal (67pts) finish third if they win at West Bromwich. If they draw, Spurs (66) can overtake them. If they lose and Spurs lose or draw, Newcastle (65) can go third by winning at Everton. A draw is not good enough for Newcastle; Spurs have a far better goal difference. And next week: If Chelsea win the Champions' League, the fourth-placed team will go into the Europa League and the third-placed team will have to qualify.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea