May 30, 2004


(info about Renato)

Agile, elegant, flamboyant

Thomas Kieller

Photo – Copyright Santos Football Club

Renato: Celebration.

Trained and determined, Renato is a stalwart in midfield. His very good physical condition and, in particular, his exceptional endurance make him a hard player to get around. Even more remarkable, he is rarely yellow carded in spite of the fact that he is a fierce defensive player. His offensive contribution is also important. With his precise passes and his excellent ball control, he is one of those who orchestrates the dynamic attacks of his team. The spectator who sees him play can only be astounded by such great agility. He is a flamboyant and an elegant player to watch. Renato has already played many games for the Brazilian national team. He is unquestionably a top player.

The interview took place on January 23, 2004 at 18:00 at the training center of the team in Santos, Brazil. It was done in English and Portuguese with the help of the translator Matheus Dolecki.

Prelude – Renato is coming back from training where he had a simulation of a match. He is in a good mood and full of life.

Footballer preparation

Thomas Kieller: During the season, how many times do you practice per week?

Renato: During preseason, we train two weeks, one week is allotted to the physical preparation. During the championship season, we usually train four days per week. The training, it's usually on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Tuesday and Saturday, they are the concentration days (the day which precede a match). There are matches on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Thomas: What exercises do you do during practice?

Renato: The most frequent exercises are shots on goal and crosses. In fact, it's more the technical exercises that we do during the week.

Thomas: What are the exercises that a footballer must do to keep his form?

Renato: Muscular training, it's what we do to keep physical form. We also run 30 minutes per day. Some days, we alternate the muscular training and the running.

Thomas: When you were younger, did you practice your ball control a lot?

Renato: When I was a kid, I trained myself by kicking lightly under the ball repeatedly. My dad did it as well. So, I tried it as much with the left foot as the right foot. I also did some basic exercises to control the ball well. I believe that it helped me a lot later as a professional player.

Thomas: Many Brazilians play football on the beach, does it improve some abilities and physical qualities for the game on the field?

Renato (smiles): I think it helps, especially in indoor playing, where the space is narrow and where we must think and act fast. When we play on the field, we can keep the ball a certain time, but indoor we must dribble more quickly. We have Robinho as an example (young extraordinary player of Santos) who played indoor. You acquire abilities that make the game easier when you come back on the field.

Thomas: What are your strengths as a footballer?

Renato: I think that one of my strong points is passing. Physical vigor also. I run a lot on the field and in the past it has helped me a lot. There are also shots on goal. I think that I'm good in scoring goals.

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

Renato: My diet is balanced. We have a dietician and she always prescribes to us a good diet. Besides, she also gives advice on this matter to the spouses of those who are married. During the day of concentration, we also eat well.

Thomas: Do you have help from specialists such as a personal trainer, a physiotherapist or sport psychologist?

Renato: We have a coach, masseurs, doctors, physical instructors and a physiologist. We don't have a psychologist, because Leão (Santos' coach) does not like too much to work with psychologists. But he talks a lot with us. The problems are communicated to him or to a member of the technical committee.

Thomas: Do you have habits you wish you could get rid off?

Renato (while laughing): No, no. I go out sometimes, but I don't exaggerate. I don't smoke. I don't drink a lot. After some games, I will drink socially with my family. I don't have habits which could be harmful to my career.

Thomas: The retirement age in hockey has gone up in the last few years, mainly due to players being careful with their diet and training more seriously and effectively. We see top players continuing at ages in the late 30s. Do we see the same trend in football?

Renato (is a little bit surprised when he hears me talk about hockey): Players who are thirty years old and more do lose some of their physical capacities but they have enough left to play well. Experience counts a lot in football. After the age of thirty, I think we can still play well. Those who are thirty years and older take greater care of themselves so that they can achieve good results.

Thomas: Have you had a serious injury during your career?

Renato: I had my knee operated once. I had an arthroscopy to the knee and I didn't move for three months, but it was nothing serious. Thank God.

Thomas: What did you do for rehabilitation?

Renato: I had physiotherapy during two months and then I had to wait one more month to be in enough form to play again.

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

Renato (while laughing): Yes, I practice other sports. I like foot-volley and I also like volleyball. I was practicing volleyball at school when I was younger. I also played indoor football at school.

Thomas: No other sports, like bicycling?

Renato (still laughing, he confirms to me that he likes volleyball): No, I only play volley.

Thomas: What is your best football memory?

Renato (without hesitating and with satisfaction): It's when I was invited, for the first time, to be a part of the national team in 2003. It marked me. And also when we participated in the Libertadores Cup and the Brazilian Championship. However, the invitation to be a part of the national team is the thing which has marked me the most during my career.

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

Renato: My idol was Zico. I liked him since I was a little boy. My father was talking a lot about him, the goals he scored… I didn't see him play very often, but I liked him a lot and I still like him because of all the things he did in and out the field.

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

Renato: Ronaldinho, Ronaldo. Zidane is also a great player. I also like Roberto Carlos because he performs on a regular basis through the season.

Brazilian football league and international football

Thomas: What are the main characteristics of the Brazilian football league?

Renato (with passion): Brazilians perform "football-art". The Brazilian teams want to score goals. The art of the Brazilian player, the Brazilian football, is different than the one of other players and other championships. There is also the joy which characterize Brazilian football and which makes it different.

Thomas: If the Brazilian national team loses, ties or even wins (but with an ordinary performance), we hear a lot of criticism from the Brazilian fans. Does this criticism help the team for the next game?

Renato: The critics have a certain impact on the following matches, but it's something natural. Brazilians are pushed by football. It's a national passion. Therefore, I think that the critic from the supporters is normal and every player must be aware of it. The players who cannot accept the criticism will not go far. The criticism is a part of Brazilian football and we are accustomed to it.

Thomas: Do you think that the recent successes of South Korean and the US national teams based on physical fitness and constant pressure on the ball will bring a wind of change in the football world?

Renato: Those teams have improved a lot, not only on the matter of physical condition but also concerning will-power. Now in football, a good physical preparation is essential, and those who are not well prepared physically will not perform well. United States and Korea have done good work concerning physical preparation and some players played very well during the world cup and they have succeeded to distinguish themselves.