FC Barcelona's Brazilian international attacker Dyego speaks to UEFA.com about his first season in European futsal which could yet culminate in UEFA Futsal Cup glory.
Article top media content
Had life worked out differently for Dyego, he might have forged a footballing career with Grêmio FBPA. Instead, the 24-year-old attacker is seeing the world as a futsal star with FC Barcelona and Brazil.
Not the worst turn of fate as Dyego happily admitted to UEFA.com on the eve of Barcelona's UEFA Futsal Cup final against FC Dynamo on Saturday. "I never thought I'd end up playing in Vietnam, China or Azerbaijan but futsal has given me these opportunities," he said.
If those Asian assignments came in the Brazil colours he has worn since 2010, the forward is in the Azerbaijani capital Baku helping to spearhead Barça's quest for a second European title in three seasons. Dyego scored his new club's fourth goal in Thursday's 4-4 semi-final thriller with hosts Araz Naxçivan which culminated in a shoot-out success for the Catalans.
It was an occasion that the No7, signed from Krona Futsal of Joinville in January, absolutely relished. "I was happy with my performance although I know I can get even better," he said. "It was nice to score an important goal and to help the team in such a tight game. Little by little I am getting more and more confident, and that comes from working with my team-mates and with the coach. It took me some time to get used to the way we go about things but I'm getting more settled and more confident now."
The player from Santa Catarina state in southern Brazil was briefly on football club Grêmio's books as an 18-year-old yet is now savouring his moment on one of futsal's highest stages. "I'm really enjoying it here – it's one of the best tournaments in the world," he said. "Although all four teams have lots of Brazilian players, the game is different from in Brazil as there's a greater emphasis on tactics and also on set pieces.
"For instance, in Brazil we don't play with flying goalkeepers. It's more about the one-on-one duels and individual ability, but both schools have their merits. The quality here is definitely right up there, and the four teams have been really strong although I think the two finalists are the ones that deserve to be there. It should be a great final with lots of four-on-four futsal."
The right-footer, contracted to Barcelona until 2016, can score with either boot and cites his ability in one-on-one situations as his best asset. Now he faces Dynamo – a side containing his international colleague Fernandinho – aiming to make amends for the Blaugrana's Copa de España semi-final reverse to Interviú Madrid in March. That loss, exacerbated by the ruptured achilles suffered by Barça's Brazil ace Ari, can inspire Marc Carmona's men to glory, Dyego promised. "It was a really tough defeat and I don't think we played well. But that's motivated us to come here and win the title. Plus, Ari got injured that night and we want to do it for him."