Salomon Kalou believes capturing a trophy for Hertha Berlin or helping the club into Europe would be on a par with his Champions League-winning exploits at Chelsea.
Kalou has scored nine times in the Bundesliga this season to help Pal Dardai’s men into third place, prompting talk of a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2000.
Hertha enjoyed regular appearances in the UEFA Cup and took part once in its successor, the Europa League, prior to being relegated from the Bundesliga in 2010 and again in 2012.
They are enjoying a fine top-flight campaign this season, though, and continue their bid to win the DFB-Pokal with a quarter-final against second-tier Heidenheim next month.
Kalou helped Chelsea to their first and only Champions League title in 2011-12 and wants to become part of Hertha folklore over the coming years.
“It’s a club with huge history and I think that there’s a lot of history to write as a player because the team haven’t won a lot of trophies,” the 30-year-old told Deutsche Welle.
“If … I manage to succeed with the team, win a trophy, my name will be written in the club’s history.
“That’s what is challenging about it. You always have to push yourself to go for the bigger challenge. When I joined Chelsea, they had never won the Champions League and we won it.
“Our name will be in the Chelsea [history] books forever and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing here.”
With Hertha in contention to claim a first Pokal title since back-to-back successes in 2001 and 2002, Dardai’s men have been the surprise package of the top flight this term.
And Kalou, under contract in the German capital until June 2017, said the prospect of earning Champions League football should serve as motivation for the remainder of the season.
“I think everyone has [European football] in the back of their mind. As a player you have to have the highest ambition you can.
“It shouldn’t be a pressure. It should be a motivation. I think the Champions League is the most exciting competition in Europe.
“Playing in the Champions League is a platform for every player to show your skills, to compare yourself to other players.
“I think for this season at Berlin, for the club, it’s an amazing opportunity to also promote our football and the way we play. And our fans want to see us play against big clubs. I think everyone is motivated to achieve that goal together.”
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