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The 28th edition of the UEFA Futsal Cup is taking place from April 26 to 28, in Almaty (Kazakhstan), the first year with its new name, UEFA Futsal Champions League. The title will be contended by the best four team in Europe: Inter are the absolute masters with five triumphs, Barça and Kairat follow with two victories, and Sporting with «just» three second places, two of them in the last two editions. To celebrate the big event, Futsal Corner thought it was a good idea to have a look at the teams from the perspective of some specialists who make futsal so unique: pivots. Today: Esquerdinha (FC Barcelona Lassa).
Question: What are your feelings for this Final Four? Who are the favourites?
Answer: The best possible feelings. We get there very well, both physically and mentally. I think it’s a good moment for us to play the semifinal, but the Final Four is very hard, you can never talk about favourites. The teams here are the four best in Europe for a reason. Let’s hope to have a good torunament and win the trophy.
Q: If you were to be a key player of the tournament, would you rather be the MVP, the top scorer or score the victory goal in the final?
A: (laughter) That’s a trick question. I’d rather be champion, really. I’d trade all my personal titles and achievements for raising the cup.
Q: In the week ahead of the Finals, we are running interviews with other player who are going to be in the tournament: Cardinal, Humberto and Tayyebi. If you could sign one of them, who would that be, and why?
A: Every pivot in the Final Four is top-level, in general. I wouldn’t sign any of them because we already have Ferrao and we are really happy with him.
Q: Speaking of your position, do you think we are gradually losing pure pivots? Do you believe a player needs to be more and more versatile in order to find space in a team?
A: I don’t think so. It depend’s on what the coaches think, but it’s true that they demand more every day, more mobility, but you don’t lose the essence of the role. We have the example of Ferrao, look at what he brings to the team. We are talking about player who bring a lot of benefit to the offence. It’s a matter of game philosophy, it depends on the coach and the whole team.
Q: Do you believe Ferrao is the best pivot in the world at the moment?
A: Yes, without a doubt. Talking about Ferrao is easy. We only need to see what he does every weekend, in every competition he plays in… He is the best pivot in the world, everything he does, he does it with extreme ease, whether scoring or defending the ball. It’s a thrill to have him beside you in every game.
P: Speaking of your teammate, his partnership with Dyego is one of the most lethal in the world. How do you fit in?
A: Actually, Ferrao and I barely play together because of our position. I spend more time with Dyego on the pitch. As he is a right winger and I am left-footed, he gets along with me. However, the connection you mention gave us many joys in many games, so we hope they go on like this for a long time.
Q: After winning last year’s Copa del Rey, and especially this year’s Spanish Cup, along with being the LNFS regular season champions (five year later), are you finally free from pressure? Do you think you can win all the titles?
R: We won the first important title of the season, but we still have to fight for the best. Now we are only focused on the Champions League, then we’ll see what happens in the Copa del Rey and in the post-season playoffs. But let’s go step by step. We don’t think about winning everything, but only the second title of the season. If we didn’t have this way of thought, we would be wrong.
Cover image: FC Barcelona Lassa
Translation: Emanuele Risso (Twitter: @eman_risso)