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We’ll do everything we can to win the trophy

25. Sept. 2021

  • Robinho is one of the big stars of Lithuania in 2021

  • He talks about the 2016 final against Argentina and the upcoming new edition of the duel

  • He wants to step down from the FIFA Futsal World Cup stage with the trophy in hand

Robinho knows how it goes. The ball magician performs his fantastic magic tricks, then goes to his hotel room, picks up the phone and hears his son raving about soccer magic. However, from the magic of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.

“It doesn’t matter what his father does,” says Robinho with a laugh, “for him it’s always about Cristiano.”

But are there any signs of change in the Santos house? Robinho animated the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021 ™ with his brilliant tricks and miracle goals against Uzbekistan and Vietnam … and apparently even aroused the interest of Ryan and Rebeca.

“My children are excited about the World Cup,” he said FIFA.com. “They watch all my games and they have Russia jerseys. My daughter Rebeca loves doing gymnastics and dancing, but she loved this.

And Ryan is thrilled to see his father score goals too. Don’t get me wrong, his great inspiration is still Cristiano, not me. And I don’t think that will ever change. Well maybe if I win the world championship (laughs).”

And that’s exactly what the 38-year-old is aiming for. FIFA.com spoke to one of the outstanding players of Lithuania in 2021 about the Colombia final in 2016, the upcoming rematch between the RFU and Argentina and whether this will be his last Futsal World Cup.

FIFA.com: Russia lost 4-5 to Argentina in the 2016 World Cup final. What do you remember from this game? Robinho: We knew next to nothing about Argentina at the time. We weren’t at all familiar with playing against a team like that. They were a great team and we didn’t know how they would play against us. We were considered favorites because of our history and the way the tournament went. After all, we had eliminated Spain and we had thrown out IR Iran, which had previously defeated Brazil. We were a strong team that got better and better over the course of the tournament and impressed everyone. But the Argentines really knew how to do it. You don’t let the pressure get in. Even if they fall behind, they do not deviate from their style of play. We took the lead in the final, but they came back. They are incredibly good at that. Just look at the game against Paraguay. The Argentines were 25 minutes behind and then turned the game around in the last 15 minutes and won 6-1. They are a very, very dangerous team, a really great team.

Can you describe your emotions after this endgame?
Russia had never reached a World Cup final before. Getting there at all was historic and a fantastic achievement. Still, I was devastated after the game. We Brazilians are incredibly ambitious, nothing less than the title is good enough. You work towards the World Cup for four years. We played an incredible tournament. The fact that we then lost the final so narrowly hit us deeply. You know there won’t be another World Cup for four years and you know what you have to go through to make it back to the final. It’s hard to motivate yourself and get up for it. Luckily I did it and I’m back here trying to get to the final again, but it was hard to get the defeat to Argentina out of my head.

What do you expect in the quarter-finals?
We managed to keep most of the team from 2016 together. We have more experience now and I think we are better prepared for Argentina. Most of our players are active in Russia. We know the way our teammates play very well, while the players of some other teams are spread all over the world.

Can we count on Eder Lima against Argentina?
It’s hard to physically adjust to a World Cup at its pace after you’ve been out of action for a while. But we work hard with him and we hope he will [gegen Argentinien] can play. He’s an amazing player and it’s a huge plus for us to have him with us.

You scored real dream goals against Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Which of the two did you like better?
I believe the first. It was an individual achievement and actually I couldn’t shoot from an angle. So I tried to outsmart the goalkeeper. I’m obviously very happy with these goals, especially at a World Cup, but the most important thing is that it was the decisive goals that helped our team win. I’m also very happy that I gave assists because that’s what I love to do the most. No matter which team I play for, I am always very happy when I can help a teammate to finish a competition as the top scorer.

Ivan Chishkala is in the running for the top scorer’s crown. What do you think of him?
The boy has a great future. He’s only 26. We’ve been playing together since he was 16 and we have great faith in each other’s game. He’s just a great player. He has everything to become one of the best players in the world.

Who do you think are the favorites to win the title?
I think Brazil are the big favorites because the individual class of the players is undisputed. They have it all – a top goalkeeper, top defender, top winger, top central player. You definitely have the best team when it comes to individual talent. And Argentina: not just because of their squad, but also because of the way they play.

Is this your last World Cup?

(hesitates) I’m a little sad to say that, but probably I am. I am now 38 years old. The next world championship will take place in three years. But I am not saying that it is definitive. I’ll make a final decision after the tournament, when I’ve calmed down. It is my third world championship. Participating in this tournament is the greatest for every player. There are no words to explain it. The thought that I won’t have this indescribable experience again makes me sad, but I want to say goodbye with a bang. We reached the final in 2016 and will do everything we can to win the trophy this time.

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