I learned how to play football as a kid through trial and error, playing every day in the street or in the park. When you start kicking a ball about in Brazil, there are no tactics. Whoever can dribble the ball and score just does it. And that’s what I learned to do.
I played futsal (small-sided indoor football) right up until I turned professional at 16. I think Brazilian football has reached the level it has because of futsal. The pitches are smaller. The goals are smaller. You have to be faster in everything you do; particularly, you have to make quick decisions.
If you’re dribbling, you have to do it by controlling the ball in a much smaller area. If you’re shooting, you must be much more accurate because the goal – the target – is smaller.
A lot of Brazilian players are self-taught like me.
- Chelsea star Oscar and author Tom Watt have produced a book that offers an insight into Brazil and the playmaker’s development
- Sales of the book will help a project in Sao Paulo helping homeless children