Aiming for his third UEFA Futsal Cup triumph with FC Barcelona, forward Wilde looks ahead to the Lisbon finals and explains the profile the club's name gives the players.
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There have been several changes to the FC Barcelona team since they won back the UEFA Futsal Cup last season, but there is still plenty of experience, not least in the shape of 34-year-old Brazil forward Wilde.
Part of Barcelona's triumphant side in 2012 and 2014, as well as Murcia FS's run to the 2008 final, Wilde will feature again in Lisbon this week – taking on Sporting Clube de Portugal in Friday's semis. The two-time FIFA Futsal World Cup winner spoke to UEFA.com.
UEFA.com: No team has retained the title since 2003 – can Barcelona change that?
Wilde: Yes, we can. We have the team to win the trophy again, but we know it'll be very difficult. First we need to face Sporting, they're a tough team to play against and it will be hard to make the final.
UEFA.com: What do you think of Sporting as opponents?
Wilde: I know the Portuguese league, because I have some family over there, and also because I have friends playing at Sporting. They're a very strong side, mentally very strong. We'll play [in Lisbon] and we'll surely get our chances, but it'll be hard because Sporting are showing in Portugal that they are very strong. They also proved it in the elite round against Inter [FS]. They won all three elite round matches, including beating Inter, so we know our semi-final will be very tough.
UEFA.com: Are you looking forward to the atmosphere in Lisbon?
Wilde: Absolutely. I think in 2010 it was a Benfica-Inter final at the same venue with about 10,000 spectators, so I am sure that with Sporting involved it will be the same. It's going to be a great occasion, with teams like Sporting and Barcelona it's going to be a real spectacle. It will be great to be part of it.
UEFA.com: How have the team coped with the departures of Fernandao, Igor and Jordi Torras?
Wilde: It's not been easy. We are still getting used to our new players. We have six or seven experienced players who have been with the team for years, but the change has been huge – we lost our former captain who ran the game for us, Jordi Torras, then our chief attacker, Fernandao, and then also a very versatile player in Igor. So we lost those three, while four new young players [Ferrao, Rafa Usín, Batería and Dyego] have arrived. They are very good, with great qualities, but it still takes time to fit them into the team and to reach an even higher level than before. It won't be easy for them, nor for us, but we are on the right path, we're improving day by day.
UEFA.com: Thinking back to your run to the final last year, the semi-final with Araz was a close affair, especially in that atmosphere in Baku ...
Wilde: Yes, that semi-final was just spectacular. It was a full house and we went through a lot to win that match. They were physically very strong, with experienced players and also Brazilians and other nationalities in their ranks. And they really proved they could win the cup – but we were a bit lucky and could count on the experience of some players who have been around for years, and we managed to make it to the final. But it was really a hard game to get through, and of course I have good memories of it.
UEFA.com: Can you talk us through your memories of the final against Dynamo?
Wilde: I have to say it was the best match I have ever played in. I wasn't 100%, I had a bit of a cold and some flu. But all the fans who followed the final, back home in Brazil, here in Spain or elsewhere, they all say it was a spectacular final. That is what I think people deserve to see, a nice match, and that is what they saw against Dynamo last year. In the end we won, but I also think Dynamo had the chance to win it.
UEFA.com: How much does the Barcelona club do for its futsal section?
The futsal players are recognised on the street, something that doesn't happen at other clubs. It is hard to achieve that, for a futsal player to be recognised on the street. But here at Barcelona, with many different sections – handball, hockey, futsal, basketball – and with football being a class apart, our players are recognised on the street. What's more, our venue hosts 5,000–6,000 fans for every game: I think that's brilliant for our sport. I think it'll continue like that, and we players and the futsal section can be grateful for that.