May 30, 2004


(info about Felipe)

The sensational player

Thomas Kieller

Felipe : Pleasure on the field.

Extremely talented, Felipe is a fine passer and has astounding control of the ball. With his clear vision of the game and his creative plays, he can rapidly change the course of a match by giving the ball to an unmarked teammate or by carrying out a prodigious technical action. The supporters of Rio stand in ecstasy before such prowess. Regarding his leadership, he shows it by the sustained effort that he puts in from one match to another. The Flamengo's captain is currently one of the two best players in the Brazilian championship. He is quite simply a sensational player that the Brazilians adore.

The interview took place on February 6, 2004 at 18:00 in a small café near the training field at the Flamengo Football Club head office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was done in English and Portuguese with the help of the translator Rodrigo Lins.

Prelude – Felipe is just coming back from a vigorous training which took place under rain. He is obviously tired from the effort that he gave during the match simulation.

Footballer preparation

Thomas Kieller: What are the skills and physical qualities that a midfielder, like you, needs to improve?

Felipe: The physical aspect is very important. When we are midfielders, we have to run a lot, to move a lot. It's essential to have a very good physical condition.

Thomas: During a season, how often do you practice per week? For how many hours?

Felipe: I train two hours a day, sometimes only one hour and a half. It depends on the championship. When matches follow each other, we don't need to train a lot. At the beginning of the season, we generally train a lot.

Thomas: What kind of exercises do you do in a regular practice?

Felipe: I work my agility and I make passes and finishing touches exercises, because these elements are very important for a midfielder.

Thomas: Is it difficult to maintain this lifestyle that is to say training regularly?

Felipe: No, it's not difficult. It is obvious that we have to give up a lot of things, but it's worth it when you do something you like.

Thomas: You are known as a good passer and you have an incredible ball control. Is this right? What are your strengths as a footballer?

Felipe: Some of my strengths, I owe them to indoor football. It has given me more agility and also more precision concerning passes. I'm aware of my importance for my team. I try to keep my qualities, because my responsibility is important within Flamengo.

Thomas: You are known as a leader. How do you express your leadership on the field?

Felipe: I try to guide the younger players. Today, I'm 26 years old and I have a certain experience. I have learned a lot of things from older players. I try to hand down my experience to the younger ones and to help them in order that they can play well on the field.

Thomas: In spite of the fact that you train hard, do you give special attention to your diet?

Felipe: I don't have a particular diet, because I don't have the tendency to put on weight. I can eat as I like, because I don't get fatter. It's probably due to my "biotype".

Thomas (is a little bit surprised by Felipe's last answer): Have you had a serious injury during your career?

Felipe: No, I never had an operation for anything.

Thomas: Do you play or used to play other sports such as foot-volley, football on the beach or any other kind of sports besides football?

Felipe: I played indoor football when I was younger.

Thomas: No other sports… like swimming?

Felipe: I swam when I was a kid. I never devoted myself to swimming. I think it's a good sport for a kid.

Thomas: What is your best football memory?

Felipe: I have already lived many wonderful moments in my career. I have obtained many titles. But the moment which marked me the most is when I won the Libertadores da América cup. This cup has been very important for me.

Thomas: Did you have a role model growing up? Who was it and why?

Felipe: I had two role models: Roberto Dinamite because he was the greatest player of Vasco da Gama when I started to play for that team, and Zico because of the quality of his game and his discipline outside the field. He is a very good example to follow.

Thomas: Who do you think are the top players in the world right now and why?

Felipe: In my mind the two best players in the world are Ronaldo from Real Madrid and Ronaldinho Gaúcho from Barcelona. They are sensational players.

Brazilian football league and Flamengo

Thomas: What are the main characteristics of the Brazilian football league if you compare it to other top leagues such as in England, Spain and Italy?

Felipe (shows great interest when we talk about Brazilian football): There are really no differences between championships. The differences are in the style of playing. Brazilian football is more joyful, a lot more audacious. The Italian football is a lot more disciplined in a tactical point of view, like the one in England.

Thomas: What are the strengths of the Flamengo's team?

Felipe: One of the great strengths of Flamengo is the supporters. It's an awesome pleasure to be able to play for one of the greatest teams, if not the greatest, of Brazil. But it's also a big responsibility, because Flamengo is well known and has supporters everywhere in Brazil.

Thomas: Is there a special feeling to play for a team from Rio de Janeiro?

Felipe (even more enthusiastic): It's wonderful to be able to play in Rio, because I was born here and my family lives here. When I play in Rio, I feel the presence of my family.

Thomas: Rio is quite a vibrant city. We can see this with the lifestyle of the eight million people who live here. Can this rhythm of life affect your playing? What do you do to avoid all the things which might influence negatively your performance on the field?

Felipe: A player must be level-headed. He must act as a professional. I'm young. I like to go out, to go to nightclubs, to dance, to make the most of Rio life, to go to the beach, but I think there is a time for everything. There is a time to give oneself to the team, and a time to have pleasure. It's obvious that we have to give up things, but we can still profit from life without affecting our physical performance.

Thomas: There are rivalries between the teams of Rio, especially Flamengo and Vasco da Gama. Does that type of confrontation help you play better?

Felipe: This rivalry between the great teams is good and entertaining. It exists in every country. I have already played many years for Vasco da Gama and when I arrived to Flamengo, I was well received. At the beginning, it is right that there was a certain mistrust from the people, because I played a long time for Vasco. But today I'm happy to play for Flamengo. It's a pleasure to play when there is a rivalry between two great teams.

Thomas: Last Sunday, there was a very good game between Flamengo and Fluminense at Maracana stadium. Your team was losing 3 to 1, but your team came back and scored three goals in 15 minutes. Can you comment on this performance?

Felipe: It was an emotional match. People who were at Maracana surely appreciated it. It was a very open match. The two teams were creating situations which were generating chances to score goals. Even if Flamengo was losing at the start, it was playing quite well. The result would have been unjust if the score remained 3 to 1. However, the team tried extra hard and succeeded in changing the score. It was one of the best matches in which I participated. The people who were at Maracana went back home satisfied.

Thomas: The supporters of Flamengo are they very enthusiastic? Does their spirit help the team to win?

Felipe: Even though the team has actual financial difficulties, everybody (supporters, players…) are really enthusiastic. The new committee director is trying to resolve the team's problems. We are pursuing to obtain the title of champion of the state of Rio.

Thomas: So, if we are in Rio, should we go to a Flamengo's match at the Maracana stadium?

Felipe: The city of Rio offers to people not only the occasion to visit beautiful sites, but also to assist in passionate matches like the one between Flamengo and Fluminense. I recommend to people who wish to know Rio better to go see one of these matches.