Exclusive: Renan On Valencia, Economic Crisis, Olympics & 2010 World Cup

Goal.com Brazil’s Andre Baibich spoke exclusively to Los Che’s shot-stopper about his debut season in Europe…

Renan Brito Soares arrived at Valencia at the start of the season following a string of great performances for his old club, Internacional, and as the goalkeeper of the Brazilian team in the 2008 Olympic Games.

He quickly became the undisputed first choice at the Mestalla, easily deposing the controversial Timo Hildebrand, although an injury has ruled him out of action since mid-January.

In this exclusive interview with Goal.com, the 24-year-old Renan talked about the financial crisis at Valencia, the memories from his time at Internacional, the priceless experience in the Olympics and his plans for the future.

Goal.com: How are the players dealing with the financial crisis at Valencia?

Renan: It’s complicated. Everybody knows that the club are in a bad moment financially, but we also know that it’s not happening only at Valencia, and at least they are being honest about the situation. What the players can do is try to improve the results of the team, so we can get into competitions such as the Champions League, which can bring some extra money.

Goal.com: The problem of late pay-cheques in football is usually linked with Brazilian clubs. Did you expect to go through this problem in Europe?

Renan: Actually, it happens differently here as they have a different way of paying. The monthly pay-cheque doesn’t run late. What does run late is the annual pay-cheque and the bonuses for victories, as stipulated in our contracts.

Goal.com: Besides the financial crisis, how do you evaluate your first season in Europe?

Renan: I think it has been very positive and I’ve been adapting very well, participating in the big matches, such as the UEFA Cup and Copa del Rey, at a very important period for the club. Then I had an injury which held me back. I was sidelined for almost two months. But I think it has been a good season. I’m sure that before, most people in Spain and Europe didn’t know who I was, and I think those people have a positive image of me now, and it’s yet another Brazilian goalkeeper who is able to create this positive image.

Goal.com: Brazilian goalkeepers broke into the European scene recently. Why do you think this generation of Brazilian goalkeepers have been successful in Europe? 

Renan: I think because of the first goalkeepers who started on this path, such as Taffarel and Dida, the success is growing. This has opened the door for us and now we have goalkeepers like Julio Cesar, who’s an accomplished player in the European scene. All of that helps and now the interest from European clubs in Brazilian goalkeepers keep rising.

Goal.com: Internacional was the club in which you’ve grown as a player and started your success in football. Do you still follow the team’s daily news?

Renan: I read the news, and watch videos of games. I also talk with friends, not only the players, but also people who helped me a lot at the club. I always try to exchange e-mails with people at the club so I can stay as close as possible, even though I’m far away.

Goal.com: You were one of the best players of the Brazilian side that won the bronze medal in the Olympic Games last year. What is your memory from that experience?

Renan: It was really important to me, and I think it helped me get to Valencia. This opportunity of being in the Olympics helped me grow as a player and also within the Brazilian team. The experience was meaningful because I got the chance to be with great players like Ronaldinho, and that helped me grow as a player and to get to Europe.

Goal.com: Do you have plans to be in next year’s World Cup?

Renan: Absolutely, and again that is because of the experience at the Olympic Games. We weren’t able to achieve our goal, which was winning the gold medal, but I think we did everything we could to get there and we had great performances. I’m sure that I have a good chance to be in the World Cup, and I’m battling every day to earn my place in the Brazilian team.