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Pedro Costa wants repeat Benfica success

Having lifted the UEFA Futsal Cup as SL Benfica captain a year ago, Pedro Costa is keen to do so again over in Almaty, Kazakhstan, but knows the Eagles are "the side they all want to beat".

Benfica captain Pedro Costa
Benfica captain Pedro Costa ©SL Benfica

A year ago SL Benfica captain Pedro Costa lifted the UEFA Futsal Cup in front of a thrilled competition-record 9,400 crowd in Lisbon. This time Benfica have travelled to Kazakhstan for the finals, where they face ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 in the semis on Friday for a chance to meet either hosts Kairat Almaty or Sporting Clube de Portugal. He spoke to UEFA.com about his memories of last year and their ambitions this time.

UEFA.com: What is the difference betwen heading into the finals as holders and looking to win it for the first time?

Pedro Costa: Last year we finally managed to surpass the psychological barrier of the "we almost got it" or the "it was close". Today we are the side they all want to beat as we are the titleholders and we want to win the title again.

UEFA.com: What is your fondest memory of last year's triumph?

Pedro Costa: Looking up at the stands and seeing 9,400 people packed into the Pavilhão Atlântico in Lisbon, who pushed us to Portuguese futsal's greatest achievement so far.

UEFA.com: It is a new-look squad this time starting with the coach Paulo Fernandes. Tell us about him.

Pedro Costa: I have known Paulo for many years but this is the first time I have worked with him as my coach. He is a very organised and methodical coach. As a person he is very polite and knows when to listen to players at the right moments. However his main quality is that he has a strong belief in his work and he can communicate that message to the players.

UEFA.com: There are two Portuguese teams in the finals and for the first time no Spanish or Russian teams. What does this say about the strength of Portuguese futsal?

Pedro Costa: It is a clear evidence that Portuguese futsal is having its brightest moment ever. The year 2010 was unforgettable for all the fans of this wonderful sport. Spanish and Russian clubs are still strong but the fact is they are not in the running for the top prize.

UEFA.com: Is the balance of power shifting?

Pedro Costa: The balance of power shifted on 25 April 2010. It is an historic date for Portugal due to the 1974 revolution but we in futsal wanted to make it unforgettable.

UEFA.com: Ricardinho made such an impact last year but has now left for Japan. Who has filled his shoes?

Pedro Costa: Ricardo is probably the best Portuguese futsal player of all time and he was always very influential during his stay at Benfica. He decided to embrace a new challenge in his career. Benfica tried to guarantee a worthy successor bearing in mind Ricardinho's style of play. Some new valuable players arrived, with great potential – but in an intelligent way nobody wanted to come in as a replacement for Ricardinho. For me, the gap left by  Ricardinho's departure was filled with fantastic team play.

UEFA.com: What are Montesilvano's strengths?

Pedro Costa: Montesilvano have an extensive array of players from Brazil who can make the difference any time in the game. I think it is their main strength.