June 25, 2021

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FIFA World Cup 2022 – News – Marcelo: I want to give the Bolivian people World Cup euphoria

10 min read
FIFA World Cup 2022™ - News - Marcelo: I want to give the Bolivian people World Cup euphoria
  • Marcelo Martins relives turning into Bolivia’s all-time high scorer
  • The former Brazil U-20 striker believes they’ll qualify for Qatar 2022
  • He discusses promoting hamburgers and arguing with Lionel Messi

Marcelo Martins flopped on to his resort mattress and faraway from his pocket a cell phone that had been beeping as relentlessly as Sputnik 1. “I felt like I was living in another world,” he recalled.

The hulking striker’s feelings had been stratospheric as he watched the video messages in his household’s WhatsApp group. He felt immeasurable satisfaction. He felt incontrovertible justification.

Every hamburger Marcelo had bought as a child to afford his bus fare to coaching had been value it. The resolution he had made as a 19-12 months-previous to ignore his Brazilian, Seleção-mad dad – Marcelo was the No9 for Brazil’s U-20s at the time – and pursue a senior worldwide profession with Bolivia had been vindicated.

A 3rd objective in as many FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifiers had made the 33-12 months-previous his nation’s all-time main marksman. He was, and nonetheless is, ecstatic at that piece of historical past. He won’t, nevertheless, be happy till he makes one other.

Marcelo desperately needs to play at the World Cup, and he believes Bolivia will probably be there subsequent 12 months. Ahead of La Verde’s clashes with Venezuela and Chile, the Cruzeiro participant chats to FIFA.com about selecting between Bolivia and Brazil, the former’s begin to Qatar 2022 qualifying, his perception they’ll attain the world finals, his spat with Lionel Messi and breaking the aforementioned file.

FIFA.com: You turned seven at some point after Bolivia’s first World Cup sport since 1950. Do you bear in mind something from their USA 1994 marketing campaign?

Marcelo Martins: I don’t bear in mind an excessive amount of, however I bear in mind a few of the video games. There was an enormous buzz in Bolivia at the time. ‘El Diablo’ Etcheverry, ‘Platini’ Sanchez, Carlos Trucco, they had been gamers who took Bolivia to the World Cup, legends in my nation. Even right this moment people nonetheless go on about ‘94. It’s loopy whenever you point out the World Cup. We haven’t managed to high quality once more since ’94, so we actually want it to occur once more. The Bolivian people at all times name for one more qualification. I suppose it might be completely great as a result of a lot unhealthy stuff occurs in our nation and it might give a lot happiness to give you the chance to take part in a World Cup once more.

Your father is a soccer-mad Brazilian, however you had been born and introduced up in Bolivia. Did you help A Seleção or La Verde?

I was at all times cut up, as a result of my father is Brazilian and my mom is Bolivian. When Brazil performed, I supported Brazil. When Bolivia performed, I supported Bolivia. In Brazil I used to idolise Ronaldo ‘Fenômeno’, who has at all times been an instance for me. In Bolivia, ‘El Diablo’ Etcheverry. He was at all times a benchmark in Bolivian soccer, and I at all times cherished watching his soccer. I at all times needed the finest for either side. But after I made my Bolivia debut, issues modified loads.

As a child, you labored at a soccer stadium…

I had a very troublesome upbringing. I had to seize no matter work I may from an early age. When I was 13 I joined a neighborhood soccer membership and wanted the cash for the bus fare to get to coaching. There was a chance to work at the stadium, promoting hamburgers, pasties, Coca-Cola. That’s when I actually fell in love with soccer. I was promoting issues to give you the chance to do what I most cherished, which was to play soccer. And at the similar time I fell I love with being at the stadium, the ambiance, [watching] soccer. The solely downside was that I additionally cherished hamburgers and generally I couldn’t resist consuming one, which I’d have to pay for! (laughs) It was humorous as a result of I was solely in the youth ranks for a 12 months-and-a-half after which, at 15 years previous, I turned skilled.

And you first wage virtually didn’t final lengthy, proper?

(laughs) I’m very fortunate to have a father who has at all times been an incredible instance. My father has at all times supported me tremendously with soccer. Since I was ten he was at all times encouraging me to develop into a footballer. I went to Vitoria in Bahia and my father went with me.

At first I didn’t have a contract, however then at some point I instantly obtained 500 reais (round $200 at the time). I went to the mall with my father and I noticed these great Diesel denims. I fell in love with them. I can recall them to this present day. Beautiful. They value precisely 500 reais. I was determined to purchase them, however my father mentioned, ‘Mate, listen to me. Forget about these jeans and focus on training, dedicating yourself to football. Because if you make it as a footballer, you’ll give you the chance to spend 100 {dollars} like it’s ten reais, you’ll give you the chance to purchase all the denims you want.’ I reluctantly left the mall with out the denims, however guess what? My dad was proper. I now have a wardrobe with over 200 pairs of denims! (laughs)

You performed for Brazil at U-18 and U-20 stage. How was that have?

I can not even describe how proud it made me. For me, a Bolivian, to be in the Brazilian youth nationwide group, was an unbelievable feeling. My dad was exceptionally proud. Brazil has so, so many gamers. To put on the canary-yellow shirt, the No9 like Ronaldo, was a rare feeling. I was high scorer in two competitions, however then the senior Bolivian nationwide group got here calling and God had a plan for me – to make historical past with Bolivia.

You had been solely 19 whenever you determined to symbolize Bolivia. How troublesome a call was that?

It was certainly one of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make. My dad was urging me to stick to Brazil, to preserve working exhausting and my probability would include the senior Seleção. And the total remainder of my household was saying, ‘You have to come and play for Bolivia, you will be able to get Bolivia to the World Cup. You will be a benchmark for future generations. Kids will want to follow In your footsteps.’ That was an enormous motivating issue – to be an instance for future generations – however it was nonetheless actually robust to let go of the dream of enjoying for the [senior] Seleção.

Moving on to Qatar 2022 qualifying, you missed the first sport, however Bolivia gave Argentina and Ecuador actually shut video games in slim defeats, and drew 2-2 in Paraguay. How would you consider Bolivia’s begin to Qatar 2022 qualifying?

We may have received the final three video games. We had been main in all three video games. We didn’t preserve our focus and preserve enjoying the means we had been. It’s troublesome [for opponents] to play at altitude – we didn’t reap the benefits of this in opposition to Argentina and Ecuador. It’s irritating as a result of I really feel like we’ve thrown seven factors away. But we nonetheless have all of it to play for. We have two large video games now – if we win we’re in a robust place in the race to qualify for the World Cup.

Despite the outcomes, the performances in opposition to three groups all in the high 4 in the standings should give the group confidence?

Without doubt. We’ve watched the video games collectively and seen that we had been enjoying effectively in opposition to and beating excessive-stage opposition. That exhibits us what we are able to do. We’re analysing the consideration lapses and errors to be sure we don’t repeat them.

What do you consider forthcoming opponents Venezuela and Bolivia?

I’ve by no means performed in opposition to a [CONMEBOL] nationwide group that has been straightforward or that I thought was going to be straightforward. I suppose Venezuela have a very good, aggressive group. They’re actually fast as soon as they win again the ball, so we’ve have to be actually conscious of this. Chile have made their very own historical past, they’ve come on a lot in recent times. But they’re additionally present process a generational change. It’s by no means straightforward whenever you change from one set of gamers who know one another to one other. So I suppose we’ve got to reap the benefits of sure conditions in the sport to emerge victorious. Getting to a World Cup is actually troublesome, but when we beat Venezuela it’ll fill us with confidence going into the Chile sport. We’ll give it our every part as a result of the World Cup is the dream of myself and all my group-mates.

Do you imagine Bolivia can qualify for Qatar 2022?

I firmly imagine in it. We have an exquisite probability this time spherical. I will give it every part till the very finish. I want to go down in the historical past of soccer in my nation. It’s an enormous dream to take Bolivia to the World Cup, to give the people of my nation the euphoria that might convey. And it might be a dream to play in the World Cup.

Pele, Messi, Luis Suarez, Alexis Sanchez, Paolo Guerrero, Falcao, Roque Santa Cruz, Agustin Delgado and Enner Valencia, Salomon Rondon, Marcelo Moreno… how did it really feel to develop into Bolivia’s all-time main marksman and be a part of an elite bracket of gamers to be high scorer for a South American nation?

I’m very, very proud. I’ve labored exhausting for 13 years to give you the chance to be the high goalscorer for my nation. It’s not straightforward, and it’ll by no means be straightforward, to rating targets. It’s the most troublesome factor in soccer. So to be on this group – strikers who had been deadly in world soccer – it’s an immense honour. And I plan scoring much more. I’m younger and I have much more years in me. I’m bodily match and I have nice starvation. You can make sure that I have lots of targets left in me.

How did you’re feeling after the sport the evening you broke the file in Asuncion?

I couldn’t imagine what was occurring in the dressing room. My cellphone was going off. My WhatsApp was flooded with messages, everybody congratulating me. My household had been sending me movies. It was a sense of inexplicable satisfaction, of reaping the reward for every part I had labored exhausting for all through my profession. It was a novel second, a second to thank God. I was so completely satisfied. My group-mates had been additionally so completely satisfied for me, and I have to thank them tremendously as a result of it’s due to them that I managed to develop into my nation’s all-time main goalscorer.

When I bought again to my resort room, I lastly had the calm to undergo and browse the messages and movies on my WhatsApp. I have a WhatsApp group with my household. I bear in mind watching their video messages again and again and being so emotional. I felt like I was residing in one other world. The feeling I had in the resort that evening is one which I will bear in mind for the remainder of my life.

Can you inform us about the little altercation you had with Lionel Messi?

(laughs) In soccer, generally issues occur on the pitch that the media doesn’t see – an insult, a unclean problem, otherwise you’re defending a group-mate. Messi’s a phenomenon. I have large admiration for all he’s achieved at Barcelona, for every part he represents for the Argentinian nationwide group. But in these moments it doesn’t matter if it’s Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo ‘Fenômeno’ – you’re defending the colors of your nation and also you’re agitated. There was a misunderstanding in the warmth of the second, however it was no large deal – these items occur all the time.

Speaking of legendary gamers, who’s the finest participant you’ve seen in your lifetime?

‘Fenômeno’. ‘Fenômeno’ and Cristiano Ronaldo. I was additionally a giant fan of Gabriel Batistuta. The means he scored targets was one thing else.

Finally, who do you suppose will win Qatar 2022?

Brazil are at all times the favourites. They’re deadly. It’s so troublesome to play in opposition to them. They have gamers who’re feared. They have so many gamers who can beat their marker. And everyone is aware of they’re the 5-time world champions – that carries large weight. I suppose this Belgium group may do it and Argentina are at all times harmful. At the second, I’d say it’s between these three groups.


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