The UEFA Futsal Cup finals begin on Friday with the last-four encounters matching hosts Iberia Star Tbilisi against MFK Dinamo and holders FC Barcelona with Kairat Almaty.
A packed Tbilisi Palace of Sport will be proof of the sport's appeal, and it is no surprise that top footballers are among futsal's fans, both of the discipline itself and of the way the small-sided game allowed them to develop their skills. UEFA.com heard from Barcelona's Daniel Alves, former Netherlands midfielder Clarence Seedorf and Brazil great Bebeto about what futsal means to them.
I had the pleasure of playing futsal at school, and what futsal gives you is intelligence, it's a thinking game. Why? Because you have a small space where man-marking is intense, so you have to be intelligent, and be very quick in your thinking and your movements.
I think that normally if somebody is successful in futsal, he can be successful in football as well, because you'll find yourself with more free space to play and with more possibilities to choose from. People who are intelligent in football have a ten-fold advantage over everyone else.
It played a role in my youth – we were almost obliged to play futsal, because it helps you think faster, it helps you with ball control, it helps you playing in small spaces. Here [in Brazil] it is the most normal thing in the world, everybody plays it, and that's why they have the elevated individual technical skills
Futsal is played in a small space, right? You learn agility, ability, quick thinking – futsal gives you all of that. I played futsal and football, together, and that improved my skills and my ability to think and decide quickly. Futsal is good for that.
It gives you a great skill base, quick thinking and acceleration in the tight spaces. That's why here in Brazil we always start with futsal before going on to the pitch. This is very important without a doubt.
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