Portugal goalkeeper Bruno Varela said he was thrilled to be playing with a "very united team" who are progressing well on the road to a possible first Under-19 title in Lithuania.
Article top media content
With his team set for a UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-final against Serbia, Portugal goalkeeper Bruno Varela took time out to tell UEFA.com about his footballing beginnings, role models and the importance of team spirit.
UEFA.com: You are now an SL Benfica goalkeeper, but where did your career begin?
Bruno Varela: I started out playing in my neighbourhood when a couple of guys from local club [UD] Ponte Frielas saw me and asked me to sign up. I was really proud to represent them and have many good memories from my time there. They helped me so much during the first steps of my career.
UEFA.com: Who do you look up to in the game?
Bruno Varela: My biggest idol is Petr Čech from Chelsea FC. I have been watching him for a long time and I like the way he plays. My role model is Benfica's senior goalkeeper Artur. I work with him every day and it's a real pleasure to do so.
UEFA.com: What does it mean to you to play for your country at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship?
Bruno Varela: It's a huge motivation to take part in this tournament. Reaching the final stages of youth football is a great achievement and playing here is amazing. It's the best thing that can happen to us as athletes.
UEFA.com: What do you do in between games when you are not training here in Lithuania?
Bruno Varela: I like to play the PlayStation with my team-mates. We also listen to music or surf the internet. I listen to different kinds of music. I like Kizomba [Angolan dance music] and afro house, for example. There is always somebody different who puts the music on in the dressing room before games. Carlos Mané and Rudinilson [Silva] chose what to listen to before our first game against Spain.
UEFA.com: Who is the joker in the team?
Bruno Varela: João Cancelo is the worst; Fábio Cardoso too. I guess I am also. I like to put my team-mates in a good mood. Obviously, I am closer with my Benfica colleagues here, but I get along with everyone. We have a very united team at these finals.
UEFA.com: What are your footballing goals?
Bruno Varela: I am still at the start of my career, but my goal is to get as far as possible in the game and I am going to work hard in order to achieve that.