Rocha: "I'm not a tough guy here!" PDF Print E-mail
RochaIn the third and final part of PortuGOAL’s exclusive interview with Ricardo Rocha, the 30-year-old centre-back talks about the day he man-marked Ronaldinho out of the match.

He also admits that although in Portugal he was considered a “tough guy”, given the physical demands of English football, in the Premiership he is “just a normal player”.

PortuGOAL: Looking back over your career, one of the more memorable moments was surely your performance against Barcelona in the Champions League in 2006.
(Smiles) I remember.

PortuGOAL: Ronaldinho said you marked him out of the game. Is that the best match of your career?
One of them, for sure. I have won titles, cups and they are always important. But that match was special because everyone in Portugal knows me as a tough player who gets lots of cards. I remember ahead of the game everyone was saying I’d be sent off after five minutes. So people were surprised with my performance because I did not commit any fouls and just played a clean game.

PortuGOAL: Did Ronaldinho speak to you after the game?
Yeah, he congratulated me on not making any fouls, so that was good for me.

PortuGOAL: You mentioned that in Portugal you were viewed as a tough player. Do you feel like a tough player now you’re in England?
(Laughs) No no no! Not in England, everybody is tough here. Everybody plays tough to get the ball. I have reminders (points to scars on his face) of tough matches here. But no, it’s the way they play football here and it’s different from other countries. With my style of play, everybody in Portugal will say I’m a tough player and I’m strong. But playing in England I just look like a normal player.

PortuGOAL: Do you like that aspect of English football?
You know, English football is very difficult. You can ask any foreign player and they will tell you it’s totally different to where they came from. The game is so tough, so fast and technical. It’s the best league in the world.

PortuGOAL: Do you ever think about going back to Portugal later in your career?
I don’t know. I can’t say how my career will be in four or five years. I had a lot of good years in Portugal. I was an important player for Benfica because we won a lot of trophies which the club had not won for a long time. I made my mark in Portugal and now I’m trying to find out what it’s like to play football in another country.

PortuGOAL: Did you always want to play outside Portugal?
I think everybody wants to, you know? They want to find out what the other side is like. They want to find out what it’s like in another country: how they view football; how they play; how they do things like training. Everybody wants that and thanks to God I had the chance to do it.


4 December 2008, by Sean Gillen

PART 1:
“Redknapp talks to every player and makes every one count”


PART 2:
“Queiroz is a good person and a good coach”

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