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12 Mar 2019
“When I came across beach soccer, I felt at home”
Elinton Andrade opens up about his early life and transition from the field to the beach
Family man, dog-lover and the current best beach soccer goalkeeper in the world. How well do you know Elinton Andrade?
It is easy to forget that the there are real people and stories behind these beach soccer machines that entertain us all year round.
Elinton Andrade, the legendary Portuguese goalkeeper, was born on the 30th of March 1979, in Santa Maria, Brazil to parents Susette Sanchotene and Eduardo Freire.
Ever the family man, Andrade looks back fondly on his childhood in Brazil…
“My mother worked in a bank and my father was a dentist. I am very close to my sisters Talitta and Nicole. My family is my fortress: my wife Liane Brixner, my son Bernardo Andrade and my dogs Billy and Laika.”
Elinton Andrade studied at Marista São José school, in Rio de Janeiro, after the family moved from Santa Maria when he was just one month old.
He started playing football at the age of nine, and joined his first club (América in Rio de Janeiro) at 15. This was in 1994 and he stayed until 1998, when he moved on to CFZ Zico’s Club.
“I went pro in 1999 with Zico, and stayed there until 2003 when I came to Flamengo in 2004.” From there Andrade played in many countries and clubs, including Fluminense, Olympique de Marseille and FC Goa.
This was on the football field… so what made this accomplished footballer make the shift onto the sand?
From grass to sand
“Little by little, I started to lose interest in football, and the projects I had ahead of me. Beach Soccer appeared and changed everything. When I came across beach soccer, I felt I was at home, and it began getting more and more important to me in comparison to football.”
Andrade started playing Beach Soccer in 2014 with Flamengo in Brazil. Since then, has played for SC Braga in Portugal, BSC Kristall in Russia and back to Brazil with Botafogo.
After playing some club events, he had the opportunity to play for the Portuguese national team, and his goals changed…
“All I could think about was winning the FIFA World Cup, and becoming the best goalkeeper in the world. Going back to football got less and less interesting to me, and getting me out of beach soccer is going to be really difficult.”
A remarkable record
In the end, he achieved his dreams, and his extensive list of honours include a 2015 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, an Olympic Medal in Baku (2015), Euro Beach Soccer League title (2015) and a Euro Beach Soccer Cup (2016).
Add to that, countless Best Goalkeeper awards, an MVP award, as well as being twice named as the Best Goalkeeper in the world (2016, 2018) and you start to get an idea of how much Andrade has achieved.
That’s a pretty impressive record, but you just know there’s more to come from this legend of the sport, as Andrade himself puts it, “I want to keep playing as long as I can - hopefully even until I am 50 years old!"