Spain's king over the water

The finals begin next week and though Javier Lozano will not be in charge of Spain having stepped down in September he is backing them to go all the way.

Spain begin the defence of their UEFA European Futsal Championship title in Porto from next Friday. It was expected that the man that led them to victory in the 2001 and 2005 continental tournaments and the last two FIFA Futsal World Cups, Javier Lozano, would be in charge for the finals yet again. But in September he stepped down after 15 years at the helm to joined the football staff at Real Madrid CF. José Venancio took over his position – an appointment, Lozano tells, that he more than supports, as he has no regrets about his decision to move. Are you happy with your decision to change your career?

Lozano: Without a doubt, because it was well thought-out. It was something I needed because, although I won't deny I often feel a bit homesick, the truth is I needed to take a break. But this isn't a final farewell because in the future I know I will return to futsal. The thing is that I had hit on a routine and I wasn't enjoying it any more. But now I will recharge and I will come back with new strength. How are things going at Real Madrid?

Javier Lozano: I’m delighted. I needed to try and test other things and what better place to do that than at one of the best clubs in the world? I feel like a new kid again and that's comforting. Do you think José Venancio's appointment as your replacement was the best option?

Lozano: A very good decision and well-deserved. Venancio has worked hard to get this far. He's a hard-working coach; he knows the team philosophy and the players and I think he was the best-suited candidate for the job. In my opinion, he's better than me. He only needs greater experience in the new job and that’s something you acquire with time. Have you spoken to him since his appointment as coach?

Lozano: Of course. Venancio is a great friend of mine and we speak quite regularly. I now try to pester him as little as possible, but he sometimes phones me and we have a friendly chat. I try to give him the best possible encouragement. Are you still keeping following futsal despite your career move into football?

Lozano: Of course. Although I have stepped away temporarily in my professional career, that doesn't mean I've lost the passion for the sport. Who will be Spain's main challengers in Porto?

Lozano: As usual, they'll be Russia and Italy, although I would also include Portugal because, as well as being the hosts, they have a great team. The European champions will be either Spain, Italy, Russia or Portugal.

This is an edited version of an article from this week's Magazine. To read in full click here.