Renato admits he still harbours hopes of Brazil recall

The former Sevilla midfielder spoke to about his illustrious career, reflecting on his stint with Botafogo, his time with the Selecao, and also former team-mates
By Brazil

He was difficult to play against, and became a hero at every club he played for. Renato has lived and breathed football for 32 years. A champion with Santos twice, he then formed the crux of Sevilla's midfield for seven seasons.

Now he is close to completing a year with Botafogo, where he currently wears the club's legendary No.8 jersey, and has gradually won the hearts of Fogao supporters with a string of committed displays, which have seen him become an important player at the General Severiano.

And unlike many of his compatriots who have passed 30, he still exudes a burning desire to win trophies and return to the Brazilian national team. The industrious midfielder won a Copa America title in 2004 and the Confederations Cup in 2005, but there is still a sense of unfinished business for Renato, who spoke to in an exclusive interview.

"I think God only knows why I was not on that list [for the 2010 World Cup]," said Renato. "I will not be frustrated if I don't appear in a World Cup, even if it is a beautiful experience.

"I have nothing against Dunga, he gave an opportunity to my former team-mates Dani Alves, Adriano and Luis Fabiano.

"However, I will always work hard to have the best chance of seizing a potential opportunity.

"Each coach will take those who they see fit, and only 23 go to the World Cup. Many are in with a chance. I'll be 35 by then, but I will always care."

Renato arrived at Botafogo last summer after a lengthy spell at Sevilla, and he was full of gratitude for the efforts his employers took to bring him to Rio, but was quick to stress the importance of winning a trophy during his time at the club.

"Along with Santos, Botafogo has a great history and I thank the staff who made the effort to bring me here," he quipped.

"They have always respected me and I understand my job here. I came with the sole intention of helping the team and, of course, trying to fight for silverware.

"The supporters need a title, but the fans can expect that the team will fight for one. We are aware of the responsibility, and we hope not to make the same errors in previous years when we compete for the Copa Libertadores next year."

He then compared the style of football he witnessed in Spain with the game in Brazil, and he admitted that his country are falling behind their European counterparts and need to begin adopting a more patient culture.

"The first touch has to exist. Our coach at Botafogo always wants us to touch that ball as much as we can," said Renato.

"That's what Barcelona do well - bore the other team. They are always looking for space, but to do that you must have the ball, you do not give the weapon to the opponent.

"Here in Brazil, however, you have lots of pitches where it is difficult to touch the ball. I think we as footballing purists have to change our culture a little, as I know supporters sometimes get a little impatient.

"Some people do not understand here that it is important to have that ball. In Europe it is normal."

Renato gave his opinion of former colleagues Dani Alves, whom he played alongside between 2004 and 2008 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, and Brazil team-mate Ronaldinho, showering both in praise.

"Dani began growing up the very first year I arrived. He was a player who risked a lot and was never afraid of making mistakes. It's one of his great qualities," he stated.

"Today, he still works like he did in Sevilla, keeping it simple. He used to play a little more forward because he had Sergio Ramos behind him.

"Ronaldinho used to play some great football, and Barca were still hard to beat at the time. We managed to beat them in the Super Cup final in 2007, a feat no-one could believe.

"I think I lost more times than I won against Barca, but playing against Ronaldinho again is a delight. He's a great player, and although we know that he is not the same level as he was at Barcelona, it is clear that he still has quality."