Author: Sanan SHAFIZADEH
Midfielder of the Portuguese national team and the Turkish FC Besiktas, Ricardo Quaresma, visited Baku immediately after the final game of the Champions League. After his meeting with Azad Ragimov, Minister of Youth and Sports, the football star could spare some time for the fans of FC Besiktas as well.
The unexpected visit of a world-known footballer gave rise to many questions from the Azerbaijani media and fans. We tried to get answers to some of them at the end of his three-day trip to Baku.
"What was the main purpose of your visit to Azerbaijan?"
"I came to Baku on vacation. Actually, I was here a few years ago, when we had an official qualification match. We played with the national team of your country. This time, I came together with my manager and wife."
"What questions did you discuss at the meeting with Minister Rahimov?"
"Many issues related to sports. We had a talk about football, of course. There were other important issues as well, but it would be wrong to announce them in public. I thank Mr. Rahimov for hospitality. He has spent some of his time with us, despite the workload."
"Could you watch the final match of the Europa League?
"The Baku final was a remarkable struggle between two strong clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal. The Europa League is considered a very prestigious competition. The final in Baku was a significant event. This means that Europe believes and relies on Azerbaijan. Although the final game took only a day, the aftermath will be discussed for a whole year. A country capable of hosting such events can host any tournament. The Europa League Final has become a real celebration."
"Were you happy with the victory of Chelsea?"
"(Laughs) I understand what you are hinting at. Of course, I was happy. I have played for Chelsea, and I enjoyed the victory of the Pensioners, to be honest. On the other hand, Chelsea was really very strong."
"I wonder what you know about Azerbaijani sports."
"I know that in recent years Azerbaijan has hosted many competitions, particularly, one of the recent prestigious ones being Formula-1. To hold competitions of such expensive and high-speed cars is extremely difficult. In addition, as I know, four matches of Euro-2020 games will take place in Baku. I heard about the participation of your clubs in the Champions League and the Europa League."
"They say that you are going to leave Besiktas. Where do you plan to continue your career?"
"I do not even think about moving to another club. I am very happy in Besiktas. This team is like a second family to me. If the head coach wishes to leave me, I will play with great pleasure. I feel at home in Besiktas. Why should I change the club?"
"They say you received an invitation from Fenerbahce?.."
"In Turkey, I see myself only in Besiktas."
"How to become a successful football player?"
"Football life begins in childhood. A child who wants to become a footballer must devote his life to this game. Sometimes when peers are having fun, you need to think about training. Over time, you reap the benefits of this. Football is not only running around on the field. You must become a bearer of team spirit. Each of the eleven players on the field must play a team game. Much depends on the coach as well. He has to give his students the necessary knowledge since childhood, including psychological training."
"The Portuguese national team is famous for its star soccer players. Let's talk about Cristiano Ronaldo. We know him as a football player, but what about his personal qualities?"
"In our team, all the players have positive qualities. Cristiano stands out with excellent qualities both as a footballer and as a person. I remember the final match of the European Championship. He is a player whose heart beats with the team even outside the field. He is a true captain. He never asks for help, on the contrary, he supports the rest. He is a person who has inserted his name in the history of Portuguese sports. The mere fact that you are in the same team with him gives each player additional faith and strength. Happy is the team that has a player like Ronaldo."
"You won your first award in the national team at the European Championships in 2016. How to explain such a late success of the team, which has such a strong composition?"
“A strong team is only half of the battle. We also need a coach, the state of training football players and a bit of luck. In previous years, we had no luck. Although we deserved medals at the European and world championships, we would leave tournaments at early stage. Now the Portuguese national team has left the run of bad luck behind. That is why highly appreciate our chances for Euro 2020."
"Michael Essien, whom you know from Chelsea, now lives in Baku and plays for FC Sabail. Would you like to continue your career in Azerbaijan, if you get a proposal?"
"I have not thought about it. It is difficult to answer your question, as I have to adapt to the culture of your country. The cultures of Turkey and Azerbaijan are similar. Just the philosophy of football is different. Currently, I am building up my career in Turkey. If possible, I will probably come to Baku in connection with football projects.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you for your questions. I hope you are not offended that the time for our interview was limited. Many thanks also to the Besiktas Fan Club in Azerbaijan. They met me with great cordiality. Such support gives us additional strength."