Courtesy: Times of MaltaNo regrets in choosing futsal, says FalcaoMonday, January 15, 2018In 2016, FIFA Futsal had bid farewell to its greatest player ever when Falcao donned the Brazil shirt for the last time in a World Cup tournament. Unfortunately, the Selecao were eliminated in the early stages but in no way that disappointment could have marred the successful career that the Brazil’s number 12 had on the biggest stages across the globe. Gianluca Lia met the legendary player in Malta courtesy of Maritime August, an Italian futsal club, who spoke about his career and the development of the game…
Brazil always brought spectacle, joy and entertainment to the world of sport. Whether it was the 1958 Brazil World Cup winning team, spearheaded by an 18-year old Pele or the famous 1970 squad, considered by many as the best team ever on a football field, the Selecao has always glued fans to their TV sets.
Lately, the football national team has not been bringing much success to their shores. Nonetheless, they were compensated with the game of futsal where Falcao was making a name for himself, managing also to clinch two World Cup titles with his native Brazil.
The 40-year-old is the all-time top scorer in FIFA Futsal World Cup with 48 goals, including 10 in his last participation when they were knocked out by Iran in the last 16.
Most notably, Falcao was named FIFA Best Futsal Player of the World on four occasions; in 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2012 and the world governing body of football acknowledged his excellent journey when awarding him an accolade for his extraordinary career in 2016.
“Having obtained all this success in this game, it automatically puts a lot of responsibility in me because wherever I go, I am always representing this movement – I am an ambassador of Futsal practically,” Falcao told Times of Malta during his visit to Malta where he played as a special guest during an exhibition match organised by Futsal Malta at the Corradino Pavilion.
“In fact, I was really happy that futsal has become an integral part of the Maltese society and I was really impressed by the level of the players who took part in the exhibition game.
“I was really glad to see all this interest here in Malta because at the end of the day, this is one of the aims in my life, to help this game develop as much as possible.”
Like any other Brazilian child, Falcao started to kick a football at a young age before he he went on to attend futsal sessions.
However, contrary to many famous Brazil players, he opted for the five-aside game because it helped him to develop his technique.
Falcao says that he enjoys more playing futsal as it enables him to touch the ball very often, a characteristic which made him an icon of the game.
“In Brazil, children start to kick any rounded thing they find from a very young age and their very first academic institution in the game is always futsal,” Falcao said.
“Most of the major clubs in Brazil have a futsal school and then, at a certain age, the players choose which path they want to embark on. Top players like Ronaldinho, Robinho and Neymar all started to practise futsal before they switched to the 11-aside.
“However, I have no regrets in having chosen futsal over football and the success I achieved, are all down to my decision I took when I was younger.”
On the other hand, there are players who may switch at a later stage in their careers, such as Luan of Gremio who until the age of 21 was still playing futsal before moving to professional football and becoming one of the promising talents in the Brazilian league.Futsal formation
One of the things that according to Falcao is very crucial in Futsal, is the fact that despite the different cultural approach towards the game that many nations might implement, ultimately it is all down to the formation of the sport which practically is the same.
“The formation of futsal is that the players touch the ball very often and by default, that helps in the development of the technical qualities of the player while it is a big incentive for every individual to stick to futsal,” he explained.
“In fact, this type of education in Futsal has been beneficial to many countries around the world and this has been highlighted in the World Cup throughout the years.
“While for example back in 2000, Brazil and Spain were superior the rest of the pack, in the following years, other teams started to emerge such as Iran, who eliminated us, and Argentina who clinched the last tournament.
“Moreover, one of the factors which has helped some of the national teams to improve was the dual nationality of many Brazilians who switched their nationalities to play for nations like Azerbaijan and Qatar, and that has been crucial in their recent success.”
Undoubtedly, one of the human characteristics which has made Falcao beloved was his humility and professionalism in the way he speaks and treats opponents, including the ones who are now making a name for themselves, such as Ricardinho, of Portugal, who like Falcao has been crowned World’s Best Player four times.
“I faced some of the best players of Futsal throughout the years and I always think of Ricardinho, because beyond our friendship, he has tried to emulate me and succeeded in his career,” Falcao said.
“Ricardinho has also a tattoo of my symbol, the number 12, and that is a very respectful thing from such a superstar of the game.”
While he may have moved on from his international career, he still amuses the crowds in the Brazilian league with Magnus Futsal/Sorocaba and is still seeking to ways how to develop further on the game.
“In order for Futsal to become a much more bigger sport, it is important to gain more exposure and as a case study, I can choose India, who have invested a lot in the game in recent years.
“Nowadays, the interest in the 5-aside game has almost leapfrogged that in the 11-aside, showing how big can futsal can become across the world.”
Event Director for the Falcao event, Mark Borg expressed his satisfaction in reaching an agreement with Maritime Augusta to include Malta in their Falcao promotional tour.
“The event will help the game to continue to grow in Malta and give the opportunity to followers to meet their futsal idol”.
He added that following collaboration with the Youth FA, futsal leagues will be introduced also to the youth sector as from this year as part of a three-year Futsal Development Programme, which also includes the setting up of a futsal academy at the end of the third year.FP Staff