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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: Fernando Cardinal (Clube Sporting de Portugal).
Question: What are your feelings for this Final Four? Who are the favourites?
Answer: Sporting get to the Finals in a good moment, it’s the great goal of the season. However, Inter Movistar are the favourites, because of their history and they were the champions in the last two seasons.
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: Of course I’d choose scoring the victory goal in the final, both for the goal and being European champion.
Q: In the week ahead of the Finals, we are running interviews with other player who are going to be in the tournament: Esquerdinha, Humberto and Tayyebi. If you could sign one of them, who would that be, and why?
R: The three of them are really good and completely different from each other, but I would get some from each one of them.
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 agree. Even the best teams in the world have more than a pivot and they all play. Same for the best national teams. However, it is logical that pivots have to do more than «pure» pivot things, such as defending on the first line. We are our teams’ first defenders. Futsal is very balanced nowadays, and pivots often make the difference and change difficult games.
P: After two second places in a row, you are meeting Inter in semifinals again, after they beat you in both of those finals. What should happen in order to finally defeat your former team?
A: It’s true that Sporting lost the last two finals against Inter. I only was in the last one, but it’s in the past. Now it’s another game and time, we know it’s going to be difficult as Inter is the best team in the world, with 10/12 players who have been playing together for years, which often makes a difference. But I’m also sure that it’s going to be very hard for them, we are a very ambicious team and we really want to play the Final.
Q: Could the lack of competitiveness in your domestic league be a disadvantage for you in terms of preparation for such a short and demanding event?
A: It’s true that competition is different between the Portuguese and Spanish leagues, and this sometimes can be an issue when you have to play this kind of games, but I am sure that this is not going to happen, and won’t affect us at all. We have been preparing for this in the best possible way to get to the game against Inter in the best possible condition.
Q: And finally, both in Inter and the Portuguese National team, your special connection with Ricardinho has always been a trending topic. Would like to play with him again in Sporting?
R: It’s true that our connection was incredible, we knew each other very well. Of course I would love to play with him again.
Translation: Emanuele Risso (Twitter: @eman_risso)