Cirilo won the UEFA Futsal Cup with MFK Dinamo Moskva five years ago and now they are back in the finals, but he warned: "The standard has increased dramatically."
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Sirilo Tadeus Kardozo Filo, better known as Cirilo, has been a real fixture in the UEFA Futsal Cup.
A year after leaving Brazil for MFK Spartak Moskva, he switched to MFK Dinamo Moskva in 2004 and on his European debut scored twice in a 23-2 defeat of FK Tirana. His club went all the way to the final, Cirilo taking his goal tally to 12 as they were pipped in extra time by Action 21 Charleroi. A year later they made the final again, Cirilo once more scoring in both legs as Dinamo lost to Interviú Madrid. However, the Spanish team were their victims 12 months later in the first four-team showpiece in Murcia as Dinamo at last lifted the trophy.
Following two semi-final appearances, Dinamo have been absent until this term, when Cirilo's last-gasp elite round equaliser against Kairat Almaty took them to Lleida and an encounter on Friday against Marca Futsal. Cirilo, now a Russian international, spoke to UEFA.com about their hopes.
UEFA.com: What was the feeling when you scored the equaliser so late against Kairat?
Cirilo: This was one of the best moments in my entire career and one of the best goals I've ever scored for Dinamo. I scored in the last minute and this goal took us through to the final stage of the tournament. This was a really emotional moment. All the Dinamo players were extremely happy and celebrated the success together with the fans like a big family.
UEFA.com: When you played in Murcia in 2007, Dinamo had lost in the previous two finals. What did it mean to win, especially in such an exciting way with Pula's late goal?
Cirilo: Before the match against Interviu Madrid we thought they were better than us. I don't know why, but I think all of us had the same feeling. They really had some quality players, star players. But that feeling was gone after the first whistle as we were the better team on the pitch. We scored first and although they got an equaliser, Pula got another goal in the dying stages of the match. That goal was extremely important for the club. We were in seventh heaven.
UEFA.com: How has the competition changed since you first played in the UEFA Futsal Cup?
Cirilo: The standard of the tournament has increased dramatically, so it's more difficult to play now. No matter who your opponents are you need to play at 100%. The only thing I regret is that we used to play finals on a home and away basis. It was really great to play at home in front of your supporters.
UEFA.com: What do you think of Marca?
Cirilo: Marca are very similar in terms of class [to the other finalists]. In general Italian futsal is on the rise so they are really dangerous.
UEFA.com: What are your team's greatest strengths?
Cirilo: The biggest strength Dinamo have is team play. All 14 players are ready to fight for each other. These world class players are true professionals. What is more, we can rotate the lineup. Let's say one player picks up an injury, he can be easily replaced and will not have any negative effect on the team's play at all.
UEFA.com: In the Russian league you play 50 minute games; do you prefer that, and is it hard to adapt to play shorter games when you play international matches?
Cirilo: Of course, it's true that after the games in the Russian leagues it is a bit weird to play 20-minute halves. It seems like the time is running very quickly and the games are really short. The match has just kicked off, you look at the board and it's almost half-time. I'm not sure what is better, I'm just more used to Russian format.