As Barcelona hosts the UEFA Futsal Champions League finals, Philippe Coutinho explains what makes the sport special.
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Barcelona's Palau Blaugrana hosts the UEFA Futsal Champions League finals from Friday to Sunday as the home team aim to claim their club's latest European crown.
Keeping more than a close eye will be football's Philippe Coutinho, who was brought up playing futsal in Brazil and even now is friends with compatriots in Barça's small-sided squad. He explained why he loves the sport.
What makes futsal such a great sport?
Philippe Coutinho: Futsal is a very exciting sport, mainly because games are often not decided until the end and that means the players have to be on their guard until the very last second.
How much did you play futsal when you were a kid?
Coutinho: I started playing futsal when I was six, at a club very near to my home called Clube Sargento do Rocha. Then I played futsal at Mangueira and shortly after I went to Vasco Da Gama, where I played futsal until I was 13. Then I had to stop and concentrate fully on football.
Was it more fun to play futsal?
Coutinho: What makes futsal such fun for me is that the game is so fast. Players have to make very quick decisions to finish moves. Another thing that’s fun about futsal is the chance to turn the score around when you are losing, in the very final seconds, so players believe right until the very end that they still have a chance of winning.
How did futsal help you to become a better football player?
Coutinho: Futsal helped my play a lot. I often say that I based all my football learning on futsal. Futsal helps you to think fast, you have to learn to make immediate decisions in limited space, and it helps improve ball skills too. I love futsal and I’m very grateful for everything it gave to me.
Tell us about the Barça futsal team ...
Coutinho: Barça has a winning futsal team with a lot of tradition and that has won a lot of trophies. I’m friends with Marcênio and Ferrão, they’re two great players.