Sunday 03 October 2021, 20:45

Ricardinho: This is the greatest moment of my life

  • Ricardinho revels in winning the FIFA Futsal World Cup in his last international

  • The 36-year-old won the adidas Golden Ball

  • Pany discusses Portugal’s triumph

Ricardinho feared this moment would never happen. The moment he got his hands on the only team trophy that had eluded him: the FIFA Futsal World Cup™ trophy. “I’ve been in the national team for 18 years,” the emotional magician told moments after inspiring Portugal to Lithuania 2021 glory. “I’ve played many games, many competitions, four World Cups. I’ve always been in good shape. “Six months ago I was on a hospital bed. It was the toughest surgery of my career. I could barely kick a ball afterwards. I had to work harder than you could believe to get myself in the Portugal squad, to be able to help the team. “Six months ago this moment seemed impossible. I was going to retire, I knew this was my last chance to win this trophy that I’ve dreamed about all my life. I knew that I would always regret not winning the World Cup. I’m so emotional, I’m so happy. “I’ve won three Champions, 15 league championships, the EURO, but this is without doubt more special. It’s the greatest moment of my career, the greatest day of my life. I’ve waited my entire career for this trophy.” It wasn’t the only trophy Ricardinho collected at Kaunas Arena. Minutes after the final whistle, FIFA President Gianni Infantino presented him with the adidas Golden Ball ahead of team-mate Pany and Kazakhstan’s Douglas Junior. “This was the best surprise of all,” said the 36-year-old. "Winning the Golden Ball, it makes it even more perfect. But this was a team effort. Everyone played their part.

One man who played a more significant role than most was Pany. The 32-year-old winger seized the adidas Silver Ball and adidas Silver Shoe after scoring both goals in the final. “I scored goals, I got individual awards because of my team-mates,” Pany told modestly. “This was a team effort. I’m never bothered by personal accolades. I always prefer to think about the collective. “Portugal are world champions – that’s all that matters. It’s incredible. People didn’t believe in us. They thought we won the EURO by chance. I’m sure we didn’t and we won this competition because we deserved it, because we were the best team. “I want to congratulate the whole squad because we won this tournament playing as a team, not as individuals. We had to go through a lot. We were behind in matches but this team has huge belief in ourselves and huge heart. We’ve got our reward today. It’s an amazing day for Portugal.”