The UEFA Futsal Cup finals draw has been made with FC Barcelona up against Kairat Almaty, bringing back happy memories of last season's win for Sergio Lozano, as he tells UEFA.com.
A year ago, European debutants Barcelona staged the finals in Lleida and Lozano was part of the team that defeated MFK Dinamo 3-1 in front of an ecstatic Pavelló Barris Nord full house to clinch the trophy. One month today Barcelona will face Kairat Almaty in the 2012/13 semis, and Spanish international Lozano spoke to UEFA.com about their success in Lleida and their ambitions this time.
UEFA.com: What are you looking forward to most?
Sergio Lozano: I have some great memories of the last finals, which we managed to win. We had a super solid and united team. We worked hard until the end, and we had spectacular supporters as well. And with the fans who came from here [Barcelona], and then with the whole club family in Lleida, it is difficult to forget.
UEFA.com: How will it be to defend your title?
Lozano: We have the same pressure as last year. Of course the club and the team enjoyed winning it for the first time, and this year I put the same pressure on myself. I want to be very competitive and I'm happy to train hard every day to go and win it. I think we have an exceptional squad which can take on any team, and we go there with the intention of winning. Futsal is a very nice sport, it's very varied, and it's a sport where you can win or lose, but we will put in every effort to win.
UEFA.com: Dinamo are back again this year – how would you describe them?
Lozano: I think all four teams are big teams, with Brazilian players in their squads. But Dinamo in particular have five or six really good Brazilian players, with five or six great Russians as well. This mix of Russians and Brazilians makes them very dangerous opponents. Last year we also had the right circumstances to win – we scored the opener pretty quickly and had the support of our fans. If we face Dinamo in the semis – or the final, God willing – it will be a difficult match, and it will certainly be very hard to beat them.
UEFA.com: What is it like to play in these finals?
Lozano: Seeing the smiles on kids' faces was brilliant. The youngsters and the public generally enjoyed themselves, and I personally thought you could never have so much fun at a match, but that day [of the final] just topped everything else. Also, now, to see the kids come here to the Palau [Blaugrana, opposite Camp Nou] every weekend to watch us and have the dream of one day making it to where we are – to see that happiness is an honour for me and every other player.
UEFA.com: What was it like to bring back the trophy?
Lozano: The reception was excellent. I've had no regrets about coming to play here – the club have been there for me whenever I've needed help, on a personal or professional level. I'm very grateful and I'm very happy here. I hope I can play here for many years. I feel at home and the only sad part is that my family can't be around me every day. But I'm happy here and hope it will last for many years to come.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.