May 30, 2004

Roberto Brum

(info about Roberto Brum)

The fire of Coritiba

Thomas Kieller

Photo – Copyright Coritiba Football Club

Roberto Brum: Athletic prowess and determination.

Determined, passionate and with a contagious enthusiasm, Roberto is a true warrior on the field. His very good physical condition makes him an efficient player on defense as well as on offense. Strong and tough, he harasses his adversary to recuperate the ball. Fast and creative, he generates numerous occasions to score. He is also a fearsome goal scorer with his blazing strikes. His greatest quality is without a doubt his unequalled determination. His intensity rubs off on his teammates which make Coritiba a united team where Roberto is a vivid flame.

The interview took place on January 30, 2004 at 14:00 in the Coritiba Football Club office at Couto Pereira stadium in Curitiba, Brazil. It was done in English and Portuguese with the help of a translator.

Prelude – Roberto, very well dressed, arrives in the office in a very good mood. He salutes everyone personally. His entry creates a state of well-being in the room.

Footballer preparation

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

Roberto Brum: At my position, I must be very good in marking. I must give the necessary support that the defenders need to prepare the attacks and to score goals that a team needs to win a match.

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

Roberto: We train full time all week. In the morning, we train for two hours or two hours and a half. Then, we go to dinner. In the afternoon, we go back to train for a similar period of time as the one in the morning. I think that it's enough to prepare us for the match for the weekend. Besides the training periods during the week, we have a concentration period the day preceding a match (generally the matches take place on Sundays and Wednesdays).

Thomas: For example, on Monday, what do you do?

Roberto: Monday, we do a regenerative training, to help us recuperate from the Sunday's game. We swim and we do stretching exercises.

Thomas: During the more technical training what kind of exercises do you do?

Roberto: During the week, we do exercises which all teams do. It changes from one technical committee to another, but the work philosophy is practically the same: exercises with the ball, physical exercises, finishing touches exercises, and collective games (matches where all the players of a team, divided into two groups - team A versus team B, play together). It gives us the necessary preparation to play well during the games.

Thomas: You are known for your great stamina. You mark your opponent well and you are a speedy player. Is that right? What are your strengths as a footballer?

Roberto: That's right. It's a part of my nature. God gave me this physical capacity that allows me to play, to run more than one match per day. Today, with the evolution of football, we benefit from physiology. Even more then my physical vigor, I have other qualities that players who play my position don't have habitually: start with the ball from our zone and then develop the game, provide the necessary support to my colleagues and to shoot on goal from outside the penalty area.

Thomas: When you were younger did you practice a lot of these skills and physical qualities?

Roberto: I came from a modest family and I think it's my diet which gave me the structure that I have today. When I was a kid, I ate food that today's young people do not eat, that my daughter for example does not eat: rice, red kidney beans, boiled beef with vegetables, corn dishes. Today, the young people eat only McDonald's, Bob's (Brazilian fast-food)… I think that it's my diet that I had when I was a kid that gives me this good physical condition.

Thomas: The Brazilian players are known for their great ball control. What kind of exercises do you do to improve your skills?

Roberto (while smiling): I think that God, when he created football, he said: "I will grant to this country - which is Brazil - the natural qualities to play football well, and I will see to it that the players of this country are the best in the world". It's the only explanation that I have, because we, Brazilians, know how to do this at the time of our birth. We don't need to train.

Thomas (laughs when he hears Roberto's last answer - of course, ha, ha, ha!): Many players have a lot of skills and physical qualities but some of them lack intensity during the games. You are known as an intense player. Is this a very important aspect of playing at a professional level?

Roberto (a little bit more serious): It's a very important aspect in today's football. In contemporary football, there is no place for players who lack determination, who do not fight to win. Three decades ago, technique was enough. The athlete who did not evolve, who cannot understand that it's important to integrate the two things, that it is necessary to associate technique and strength, eagerness, determination, will not succeed in football.

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

Roberto: We benefit from the help of many professionals, among them a dietician hired by the club. Myself, I have hired a cook to look after my diet, because I need to eat well to have enough energy the next day during the training. This aspect is essential for me.

Thomas: Do you have help from other specialists such as a personal trainer, massage therapist and sport psychologist?

Roberto: I have the pleasure to work for a team which offers all the resources that I may need. The Coritiba Football Club offers the services of these professionals: psychologist, dietician and physical instructor. It supplies all the resources that an athlete needs to play well.

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

Roberto: I never had an injury that could keep me from playing. It's been two years that I am playing for Coritiba and I have never been excluded from a game due to an injury.

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

Roberto (smiles when he hears me talking about foot-volley, a sport that he appreciates): I was born in Rio de Janeiro. I play foot-volley only when I go back to Rio during my holidays at the end of the year because at that moment I spend my days on the beach.

Thomas: Do you perform other sports, for example, basketball or swimming or cycling?

Roberto (while laughing): No. I appreciate these sports, but my thing is football.

Thomas: What is your best football memory as a footballer?

Roberto: The moment which has marked me the most is when Coritiba obtained the title of unbeaten champion in 2003. It's a historical moment, because no other club got this title since 1936. It's a title that brought a lot of joy to our supporters.

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

Roberto: I have admired many players. When I was younger, I have seen Zico, Romário and Dunga play. I have a particular admiration for these players that I have seen play. I have heard about Pelé, Garrincha, but I didn't have the privilege to see them play. Another athlete that I have admired is Maradona, an Argentinian player, and Veron who is also from Argentina. I admire many athletes, but none of them serve me as a model in particular. I have my own style, my own way of playing.

Thomas: Who is the player that you appreciated the most and why?

Roberto (affirms with liveliness): It's Dunga, by the way he played, who has brought me the most to my career. He was determined, he had great leadership. When I became a professional and I started to play for Fluminense (a Rio de Janeiro team), Mr. Carlos Alberto Parreira, who was my coach at that period, compared me to Dunga, the captain of the national team managed by Mr. Parreira. I was happy to hear this. My admiration for him has increased and I have tried to follow a little bit in his footsteps.

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

Roberto: Most of the best players are from Real Madrid, a team that I admire. They are Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Zidane and Figo. There are also players in Brazil, for example Alex (from the Cruzeiro team) who is in a good period, a special phase in his career.

Thomas: But why do you think they are the best players?

Roberto: They are brilliant players. They are unpredictable. At any moment, with their natural talent, they can change the outcome of a match. And it's not due to training, but because of their natural qualities.

Brazilian football league and Coritiba

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?

Roberto: It's difficult to compare, because there are regional differences concerning the way of playing. There is a way of playing in Rio, another in Sao Paulo, another in the south and another one in the northeast. I think that the style of playing in the south looks like the one that we see in European football. It's a combative way of playing. We fight for the ball and there is also the same kind of marking. We can give as an example Grêmio, which has been for the second time champion of the Libertadores cup. I'm sure that Coritiba has also great chances to be champion. Coritiba represents the south of the country, it has this responsibility and can inspire itself from what Grêmio has accomplished to win the Libertadores cup.

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

Roberto (says energetically): The principal characteristic of Coritiba is the unity of its players. The Coritiba players play collectively. They don't play individually. When we win a match, it's not a matter of one player. Each player brings his contribution in order that the group can be strong. Also, what makes Coritiba strong is the fan's participation. They are like the 13th player, especially during the home games.

Thomas: The supporters of Coritiba are they really that enthusiastic?

Roberto: Coritiba's supporters are faithful. They are always present during difficult moments and also during the good times. It makes a difference and that's one of the reasons why I have decided to leave my previous team, where I played 11 years, to come to play for Coritiba.

Thomas: So, if we are in Curitiba, should we go to a Coritiba's match?

Roberto (while laughing a little bit): It will be worth it to see Coritiba play even if the ticket would cost two times more. Because Coritiba takes part in the Libertadores cup to be the champion. It enters the championship to win, to be the best team and to show not only that it is the best team of the south, but the best one in Brazil.