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05 Apr 2011
Villalobos: ?The perfect Beach Soccer player is the one who keeps willing to improve?
Ricardo Villalobos (México DF, February 2nd, 1981), with the Azteca number 9 at his back, heads for his third FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. After a wonderful CONCACAF Qualifier, in which he helped ‘La Tri’ to claim the crown back as Continental Champions and get the ticket to Ravenna, he was selected by Vasco da Gama to play in the Mundialito de Clubes, raising the Cup again in São Paulo with the Carioca side.
After beginning his sportive career as a promising eleven-a-side footballer in Azteca giants Cruz Azul, Pachuca and America, even playing as a professional, he joined the Beach Soccer National Team in 2005, to quickly become the country’s top scorer on the sand. Today, with almost 80 goals in his 6 years in the Mexican National Team his key role in Ramon Raya’s side will be absolutely determining for the future of Mexico in Ravenna, a moment he and his teammates regard with huge excitement.
?Which were your first steps in Beach Soccer? How did you get to the National Team?
?It was quite hard for me being able to combine my academic life with my sportive career, so I had to take the decision to go for my studies first. But I never let beach soccer out of my sight, and I even took a year off from University to get into professional football again. After that year, I went back to finish my degree and right afterwards I joined the Futsal National Team, from which I jumped into the Beach Soccer National Team.
?What is what you like most about this sport?
?There are many things, indeed. It’s an extremely dynamic sport, always offering a great spectacle thanks to its constant eye-catching attacking moves. Besides, although individualities are important, the collective play is fundamental. And it is not only about the kind of soccer, but also the atmosphere you breathe during the competitions, with a strong Fair Play mood, teams and crowds fraternizing, different nations coexisting harmonically… All these things make beach soccer a sport to enjoy at all ages, with your family, with friends…
?Which are the main differences you notice regarding eleven-a-side football?
?First of all, attacking possibilities are much wider, and the playing pitch, although being smaller, is much more exhausting and difficult to move on. The technical foundations are really different, too, and the rules are designed to favour flashing action at every moment.
?You are going to take part in your third FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. What did it mean for the Mexican National Team to achieve the ticket to Ravenna 2011?
?It was a huge excitement, but, at the same time, it is a great responsibility towards those who believe in us. We have a strong commitment, as well, since after playing a World Cup final we do not want to give up the chance of doing it again.
?And how do you see Mexico’s future in the World Cup?
?We are working enthusiastically, having in mind the magnitude of the appointment. I firmly believe we are going to reach Ravenna as a solid team, with great expectations and committed to always do our best.
?Physical training is crucial for such a demanding sport as Beach Soccer. How is your training schedule like?
?The team trains, approximately, 15 hours every week, but you have to complete this work with individual training…
?And how do you get yourself ready? What kind of exercises do you do?
?We have to do a complete work, since strength, speed and stamina are crucial in this sport. We individually train on the beach, on the track and at the gym. We plan the training sessions according to the matches, and depending on the remaining days to that match we vary the intensity of this training.
?What’s the perfect Beach Soccer player like, for you?
?Strong but agile, quick, with a good technique, smart, mentally strong, tactically disciplined, humble, and always willing to improve. Not bad, is it?