Marcos Perreira has probably been the most consistent performer for Mohun Bagan this season.
Since his joining Mohun Bagan, Mariners are unbeaten in the I-league. He was also an integral part of the Federation Cup winning squad.
Question: Congratulations, Marcos, on winning Federation Cup and in the I-League currently Mohun Bagan is a title contender, whereas before your arrival, Mohun Bagan was not in a good position. Do you think your inclusion helped improve the performance of team?
Marcos: I think the team has played well. I may have helped but if all the players had not played well, Mohun Bagan could not have won all those matches. This is a team game. Credit also goes to the coach for the good performance of the team. After the first East Bengal match, we went to play against Dempo in Goa; every player gave their best in that match, we won without one man. This match gave us a lot of confidence. In football, if team wins, confidence comes.
Question: When did you start playing football?
Marcos: In 1986, I joined an academy in Rio de Janeiro, I also played in Vasco da Gama, division A.
Question: What is your opinion of Brazil football in general?
Marcos: In Brazil football is like cricket in India. All children want to play football. It is a very popular sport in Brazil and people have great passion for it. I wanted to become a football player right from my childhood.
Question: Who was your idol?
Question: In Brazil did you ever play with any player who is a star now?
Marcos: Yah, once I played against Romario.
Question: What was the result of that match?
Marcos: Romario’s team won that match by probably 6-0. Romario scored 4 goals in that match.
Question: Who is your favourite Brazilian footballer now?
Marcos: Ronaldo. Though his form is not good now, he is back from injury, and he will be back to his own very soon.
Question: Tell us about your football career.
Marcos: I left Brazil in 1997, went to Saudi Arabia; I played three months there, then came back to Brazil. In 2000 I went to South Korea and stayed there for two months and then again came back to Brazil. In 2001, 2002 I came to India and played 2 seasons for Vasco. In 2003-04, I came to Mohun Bagan and played for six months, then went back to Vasco for six months, after that I joined Salgaokar for six months, Churchill six months, and JCT one season. From JCT, I went back to Brazil and returned to JCT after playing one season in Brazil. Right now, in Mohun Bagan my main aim is to win the I-League.
Question: What are the differences between football in Goa and Kolkata?
Marcos: In Kolkata there is more craze for football among the people compared to that in Goa. The craze for football in Kolkata can be compared to that in Brazil. Also in Kolkata there is more media attention than in Goa . Both the Goa League and the Kolkata League are tough as there are 3-4 good teams playing in both of them. There is definitely a bit of pressure in Kolkata from media but as a professional footballer you have to learn to perform well under pressure.
Question: In 2003 what forced you to leave Mohun Bagan in the middle of the season?
Marcos: That year, I got injured three times in my knee. I also had problems with officials who were in power at that time. I did not leave because of injury but because of problem with officials.
Question: Any reason for your joining Mohun Bagan this year?
Marcos: In 2003 I could not deliver good performance. I wanted to come back to Kolkata to prove people wrong and to help Mohun Bagan perform well. For JCT, I did not sign any contract this year. I talked to my long time friend, Barreto. Then I decided to come to Kolkata. JCT had good management, but I wanted to leave because I wanted to play for Mohun Bagan again. Another important reason for me joining Mohun Bagan is Debasish Dutta. Present management of Mohun Bagan is very good.
Question: Which is the best goal you have scored in India?
Marcos: The goal I scored against Air India during the Fed Cup this year. It was from a free kick which was quite close to the penalty box. For Vasco, I scored 5 goals against Mohun Bagan, 2 in kolkata, 3 in goa (different years). Also I scored a direct free kick against Mohammedan, which was unfortunately given offside.
Question: Do you want to comment on refereeing standard in India?
Marcos: No comments. I don’t want to comment on this.
Question: What about the ground conditions in India? Which ones do you find are good?
Marcos: Goa ground is very good, Kolkata is also good, Mumbai ground not good, small ground, hard ground. MB ground very good. I played in 2003 in MB ground last. I haven’t played at the Mohun Bagan ground this season, I have only practiced here. It is also quite good.
Question: You have played as a central mid fielder as well as a striker; in which position do you like playing more?
Marcos: I like to play in both positions. I play in a position in which the team wants me to play in. Apart from these two positions, I have also played as a left winger in Brazil. For Vasco 1st season I played midfield, 2nd season striker. Sometimes I played midfield, sometimes striker. I can play both as attacking and defensive midfielder, all depends on coach in what way he wants to use me. Coming down to help defence is absolutely okay for me, helping defence, no problem for me. In fact, in JCT I played three matches as a left half and also in Brazil I had a brief stint as a side half.
Question: How do you rate the youngsters in our team?
Marcos: All the players from TFA are very good. If they are in the team for 2-3 years, Mohun Bagan will definitely benefit from this. Ramluah and Rakesh Masih are very good players.
Question: What about Lalkamal?
Marcos: He is a very important player for us. Against Sporting de Goa, he came as a substitute and played very well which helped us to win the match.
Question: When you joined Mohun Bagan this year, few media wrote Marcos is overaged? Do you get affected by all of this?
Marcos: Not at all. I don’t read much newspaper. I know after my first match against East Bengal, many people abused me. Actually I had not played for six months. A new player needs time to settle down. Regarding my performance, I would rather discuss with coach than reading newspaper. I think in professional football, age is not a problem, see Ryan Giggs, still playing so well for Manchester United.
Question: In Mohun Bagan you are unbeaten for 11 matches now, but you were unbeaten for 12 matches while playing for a club in Brazil . What was the name of the club?
Marcos: It was for Ubiratan in Matogrosso Do Sul in Brazil.
Question: Which match would you pick up as the best match of Mohun Bagan this year?
Marcos: I would say two matches against Dempo, the I league match in Goa and the Federation Cup final match in Kolkata. In the I league match, after Vasan was sent off, coach changed the formation to 4-3-2, I went to defensive medio and Rakesh moved back to stopper position. I, Ishfaq and James became the three midfielders. Coach asked me to stay more down to help defence. In Federation Cup final, coach gave me a role to stop Beto since Dempo’s gamemaker is Beto. Playing final in Kolkata in front of huge crowd also helped a lot to win the final.
Question: Is Beto a good friend of yours?
Marcos: During match we are not friends, every player will give 100% for his club and we try to beat each other, when match ends we are friends again. After the final match, myself, Barreto and Beto went for dinner (laughing).
Question: What are your future plans?
Marcos: I want to play for another 3-4 years, then I might go back to Brazil and may do some coaching degree, have not decided on this yet.
Question: Say something about your family.
Marcos: My wife and daughter lives in Brazil . I have a 5-year-old daughter who was born in Kolkata. I need to give my best for my family. This is my profession. I am not staying with my family, the sacrifice which I am making is for my family. My daughter goes to school and they live in Matogrosso do Sul.
Question: Who is your best friend?
Marcos: Jose Barreto and Edu of JCT. I talk often with Edu. When he comes to play in Kolkata, we meet often and take lunch together.
Question: What do you usually do in your spare time?
Marcos: I stay in the house, spend time surfing internet or watch football in television. Sometimes I spend time with Barreto and his family.
Question: Which team do you support in EPL?
Marcos: I love to watch good games. I don’t support any team as such.
Question: You have played under many coaches in India ? Who is your favourite? How would you rate Karim as a coach?
Marcos: I like all coaches, every coach has something different. Karim is definitely a very good coach. Gives me a lot of confidence to play well. Due to him team has such a good team spirit. He can also make strategy well. He is one of the factors why MB is doing so well. He is the leader and gives encouragement to team. He is very important to us. I like Sukhwinder also, he brought me back to India after I went back to Brazil.
Question: Are you satisfied with your performance in Mohun Bagan?
Marcos: If we win the I-League, then I will be satisfied. Winning 10 consecutive matches is not all, we have to win I league. Mohun Bagan is a big club, winning trophies is very important here, just winning matches will not do. Our focus is now on winning the I league.
Question: You came in mid season, did you face any problem to cope up with team since you did not attend preseason training?
Marcos: Every player needs 1 week to 2 weeks to adapt, I have adapted myself well here, as I said the coach helped me a lot, gave me a lot of encouragement. Before signing, I was here for 1 month, stayed with the club and was practicing to get myself adapted. This helped a lot.
Question: You seem to be a corner and free kick specialist? Do you take this on the coach’s instructions?
Marcos: Yes the coach decides on who will take the corner or free kick. I like taking free kicks. Regarding corner, sometimes James takes the corner as sometimes coach asks me to come back quickly to help defence after corner is taken. We also sometimes take short corner depending on position of opposition player.
Question: How do you have such good stamina at 35?
Marcos: God helped a lot. I try to keep myself fit, eat good food, and do regular exercise. I was within Robson for 5 years, I have a little knowledge on physical training. I try to use that knowledge to keep myself fit. I am also very religious. I am a protestant. On Sunday, I go to church with Barreto. Overall I try to maintain a good life system.
Question: Do you feel the standard of football in India has improved since your first year in India?
Marcos: Yes every year the standard of football improves in India . This year’s I-League has been very competitive so far. I think this is the best I-League in 10 years. The speed of the game has increased drastically since 2001. Our game against Mohammeden Sporting bears testimony to this fact. They really played very well against us.
Question: So do you think it is possible for India to qualify for the World Cup in 2014?
Marcos: It is very hard for India to qualify in the World Cup in 2014. Only 4 teams can qualify for the World Cup from Asia and with Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China and also Australia, it will be very hard for India to qualify.
Question: Who do you think are the best Indian players right now?
Marcos: I like many of them but my favourites are Baichung, Sunil Chetry and Joaquim Abranches.
Question: Which team’s midfield you think is the best in I-League to play against?
Marcos: Dempo and Churchill’s midfield are very good. We had tough matches against both the teams. Against Churchill in Kolkata, we had to be a little bit cautious because Odafe is a dangerous player.
Question: How do you think Indian football should improve?
Marcos: India needs more academies. There are very few quality academies in India. Problem is not with foreign players or foreign coaches. Good foreigners help raise standard of Indian football and definitely good foreign coaches are also required, but you need to have more talent coming out from a number of good academies. Another important factor is that football is not the first sports in India, cricket is the first. India need to make long term plans. In Japan big money was involved to improve standard of football, they were sending 200 under age players per year to Brazil , this helped a lot.
Question: Do you think physical condition of Indian players is less?
Marcos: No I don’t think so. I have seen great improvement in this department over the years.
Question: What are the factors due to which Mohun Bagan is performing so well this year?
Marcos: There are many factors. Officials, coach and players all are doing their job to perfection and supporters are giving good support to the team. Team spirit is also very good. We have respect for each other irrespective of whether he is a junior player or senior player. The coach definitely had an important role to play to build this team spirit. Seniors players also mixed nicely with juniors.
Question: Next match is against Churchill, any special preparation for this match?
Marcos: This is another I-League match for us. Definitely Odafe is a good player but we are also prepared as a team.
Question: Any message for supporters.
Marcos: Supporters are very important for us, against Air India in cooperage, there were more supporters of MB rather than Air India. Mohun Bagan club being a big club has many supporters all over India. I want them to support us like this. We hope to bring smile to their face in this I-League. They should continue their support for us.
INTERVIEW: Srijan Bhattacharya, Nirmalya Maity and Shiladitya Mitra
REPORT: Srijan Bhattacharya, Shiladitya Mitra and Rajat Subhra Banerjee