Much-honoured Spain goalkeeper Luis Amado talks uefa.com through the highs and lows of his career.
By Andy Hall
Luis Amado may now be widely considered to be the best Futsal goalkeeper in the world - but the Spanish international admits he was once told by a coach: "You will never make it in this game, son."
Now in his fourth season with European champions Boomerang Interviú FS, the 28-year-old custodian has collected 75 caps for his country and is the happy owner of a trophy cabinet, including winners medals in the FIFA World Futsal Championship and UEFA European Futsal Championship. It is a far cry from his introduction to the sport, though.
He told uefa.com on the eve of the 2004 World Championship, where Spain start their title defence in Chinese Taipei on Sunday: "I started out playing eleven-a-side and my position was at right-back. When the team got a new coach, I was suddenly dropped and that's when I discovered my interest for Futsal - I must have been about ten years old."
Amado added: "Then I found that rather than playing in defence, I preferred playing in goal. My first club was a small team in Madrid called EFS Arganda. A few years later, I was called to represent the Madrid regional side in the national championships."
Aged 19, Amado signed for FS Caja Segovia. But things did not run smoothly during his first and only year at the club. "I did not get to play much and I was plagued with injuries. The coach told me that I had no future in Futsal," he continued. "I left to join Club Atlético Madrid Leganés FS, who were then in the [lower-flight] División de Plata."
His fortunes changed when he returned for a four-year stint with Caja Segovia, where he won the División de Honor title in 1999 and Spanish Cup twice in succession in 1998 and 1999. "Things changed for me, I was playing regularly and we were successful. Then Boomerang came in for me three years ago," he added.
At Boomerang, Amado would collect a host of awards, including the UEFA Futsal Cup and a domestic clean-sweep last season. In 2001, he was voted Europe's top goalkeeper, a year later, the best in the world. But the highlights so far have been with the national team, "Winning the World Championship in Guatamala and then the European title a few months later was amazing," he admitted.
In Chinese Taipei. Javier Lozano's side are pitted against the hosts, old rivals Ukraine and Egypt. Amado believes that their opening match on Sunday could not be tougher. "Our meeting with Ukraine is going to be our biggest challenge going into the tournament. They are a strong side who always make things very difficult for you. Furthermore, with it being the first game, there is the added pressure that you always want to start of with a win."
Amado's deputies will be Rafa and Paco Sedano. Previous second-choice Cristián Domínguez ripped a cruciate ligament in his right knee whilst warming-up during Spain's match against Poland last month, while Sergio López-Andújar announced his retirement last month aged 26 after discovering he had a heart complaint.
However, Amado is even more concerned with losing winger Daniel to a knee injury. He admitted: "Losing Daniel is a massive loss but we must confront the competition with the players we have on board. The Spanish team, whoever we play and at whatever level, we always give 100 per cent of ourselves and that is what we will be doing."