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06 Jun 2019
"I love beach soccer because it is focused on the goal"
Portuguese football star Hugo Almeida is enjoying top class beach soccer at the Euro Winners Cup with his hometown team AD Buarcos
Amongst the hundreds of players taking part in the Euro Winners Cup, one of the most well-know faces for the football fans worldwide is that of the Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida, with more than 300 matches at the highest level under his belt.
With a long and prolific career in football, having played for teams such as Oporto, Werder Bremen, Besiktas, Cesena, Hannover or AEK Athens, amongst others, Almeida is a passionate fan (and player when he has the chance) of beach soccer.
During the season Almeida plays for Académica Coimbra but is currently taking a break after the Portuguese Championship finished some weeks ago. This summer he enrolled in his local team AD Buarcos, to take part in this year's Euro Winners Cup and test himself against the most important players in the World. "It feels great to be on the sand and to have the opportunity to play at this level, against the best teams on the continent.
He is no stranger to beach soccer, though, as it is a sport he has grown up with, he has, "always played beach soccer, in my village since I was a little child, and I keep playing every time I have the chance."
Having tested himself in the harshest of battlegrounds in the world of football, including the Champions League, the FIFA World Cup and the Uefa Euro, fighting the toughest defenders in football, the challenge of facing the world's beach soccer elite at the Euro Winners Cup felt like a great opportunity to him.
A challenge in which he knew that things would not work like they did on the grass. "Beach Soccer is totally different. The sand makes everything very difficult, and I am still trying to adapt my style of play. It is key to keep the ball in the air, and that makes everything different for a football player".
"One of the things I love about beach soccer is that it is focused on the goal. Its main aim is to attack, and you see lots of goals. This is what makes it so special. Moreover, you have the acrobatics, the bicycle kicks and the volleys, the technique involved in every move... It is truly amazing", Almeida highlights.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that during the World Winners Cup in Alanya he will be right in the middle of the football season, we will not have the chance to enjoy his terrifically physical play in the worldwide clubs competition.
It takes place in Turkey, a country in which Almeida is very well known after his three magnificent years with Besiktas, scoring 37 goals.
"It is going to be an amazing competition, I am sure. And Turkey is a great place for it. I love the country and I love its people. Unfortunately, I cannot participate but I know that my beach soccer team, Buarcos, is planning to go. And if they go, it means that a part of me is there too.", Hugo explains.
He also looks forward to the Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal, which will be held at his hometown, Figueira da Foz. "I am sure that will be a phenomenal venue, as the passion for football and beach soccer there is just incredible, and the people are wonderful. I cannot imagine a better venue. I will definitely come and watch this year and, maybe in the future, after my footballing career is over, I can take part in it as a full-time beach soccer player..."
Who knows... Might we see him at the front of Portugal's attacking line some time soon? We would love that!