THE BALL – «If he doesn’t win Portugal, Messi deserved to end his career with a title» (Football)
The Portuguese Tiago Pinto, sporting director of Roma ‘de’ José Mourinho and Rui Patrício – and former sporting director of Benfica – repeated this Saturday at the Thinking Football conference, taking place in Porto, his belief in a good performance by the National Team in the World Cup of Qatar and left the hope that if it weren’t for Fernando Santos’ men to celebrate on December 18th in Doha… that Argentina would reach the ‘tri’ (champion in 1978 and 1986), because, in his opinion, Lionel Messi deserves to end his career with a title of this dimension… just like Paulo Dybala, player of the ‘giallorossi’.
«My expectations for the World Cup are good. It is evident that, on the side of the clubs, we always watch the World Cup with our hearts in our hands, hoping that our players do not get injured in the specifications. Obviously, as a Portuguese I want things to go well [à Seleção Nacional]», said Tiago Pinto on the sidelines of the conference, to journalists.
«But I also want to say that if Portugal cannot win, Argentina should win, because I think Messi and, by the way, Dybala [jogador da Roma] deserved. But above all, Messi deserved to end his career with a world title. This, I repeat, if Portugal couldn’t win, obviously», were the votes of the head of the Italian capital club, whose team is coached by José Mourinho and who counts on his receptions with the keeper Rui Patrício.
Tiago Pinto was impressed with the modernization imposed by the League and the federation, in addition to the clubs, on Portuguese football, after a year and a half as an emigrant in Italy, noting a tangible evolution in the organizational chapter and in favor of Portuguese football.
«The League has grown a lot, this event is having a spectacular impact abroad. I feel proud, it’s good for Portuguese football. Outside-in view of what is different in the Portuguese championship? It’s always inclined, I’ve never hidden that I’m a big Benfica fan, so my vision is always embodied [risos]🇧🇷 Once again, in the summer market, it was proved that the Portuguese player is still in fashion: many leave Portugal and go to big clubs in Europe, where they assert themselves», said who was Benfica’s sporting director for nine years.
“It happened [valorização com saídas de Portugal] with Darwin, Vitinha, Fábio Vieira himself. Portuguese football continues to be one of the main showcases of European football and this demonstrates the competence of the clubs, the League, the federation and all the agents involved», was Tiago Pinto’s praise of the main agents of Portuguese football.
And as for how you’ve been following Benfica’s campaign this season [25 jogos invictos], was sincere. «For me, as long as Benfica wins, everything is always fine. I worked for Benfica for nine years, I left Benfica… but Benfica will never leave me! But today, I’m just a fan, nothing more “, he ended the purpose.
From the experience at Roma, and the difficulties they encountered in importing their project, since the summer of 2021, Tiago Pinto left more revelations.
«We have a difficult reality. New owners bought the club, but they had many difficulties to fulfill the financial ‘fair play’. We restructured the club from a scouting point of view [observação de jogadores]do ‘correspondence analysis’ [análise de jogos], the whole structure of a professional team. But mainly, as I explained at the conference, we had to make a total crowd of the squad, in which we had to reduce the salary mass a lot and at the same time we bet on training», recalled who had to, with less, do much more.
«They have seen players of the quality of Zalewski, or Volpato, aged 19, playing in the main team. For all of this, Mourinho’s role has been fundamental, I think that nothing else needs to be added in this regard», was the greeting due to the Portuguese coach, before denying that, despite persistent rumors, Cristiano Ronaldo was never or is in the plans to strengthen Rome.
“Cristiano Ronaldo? One of the things that annoys me a little in Italy is that every day they talk about the market. I think that we, here, in Portugal, are a little better in that regard. , but in Italy every day they talk about ten different players for our team. It’s normal, even more so being a Portuguese player and being Portuguese. .
As a Portuguese and privileged connoisseur of the reality of Italian football, asked about advice to FC Porto and SC Braga, who will face Italian rivals in the next round of UEFA competitions – the dragons against Inter Milan in the Champions League, the Minho team will face Fiorentina in the Conference League -, Tiago Pinto was pragmatic.
«To FC Porto and Sérgio Conceição. I cannot give any advice: if my memory serves me correctly, he always eliminated Italian teams from UEFA when he had to face them. That’s why he has to give me advice, because he always eliminated them [risos]🇧🇷 SC Braga will play Fiorentina, a really strong team, this season with a little more difficulties, as it is not easy to play every three days, and in a Serie A as competitive as Italy. In that respect, it is a little different from Portugal. If you play on Thursday and again on Sunday, you risk losing even if it’s the bottom of the standings», recalled Tiago Pinto.
«In Portugal, experience this impact of playing European competitions a lot: for those who play on Thursday and Sunday, it is certain that the Sunday meeting will always be difficult. That’s why Fiorentina have difficulties. But I think that both SC Braga and FC Porto will certainly have their chances to go through to the tie. But, I repeat, to Sergio [Conceição] I can’t say anything, because he always beats the Italian teams», underlined the sporting director of Roma regarding the double Luso-Italian clash in the UEFA competitions at the beginning of 2023.
In farewell, Tiago Pinto unveiled a bit of the footballing reality that he found in Italy, to emphasize differences in the parallelism with the Portuguese reality. “It is very different. Italy is a country totally passionate about football: you can find second or third division teams with 20 or 30 thousand champions in stadiums. There is not a huge following concentration around the big clubs. In all cities, there are full stadiums supporting both teams», said Tiago Pinto
«It is also true that we are talking about different budgets [maiores em Itália], but we are also talking about organization and professionalism: there is still a long way to go. You can see it by the organization and the full stadiums. But, and pulling the ember to our sardines, in 2021/22 Roma won a European title [Liga Conferência]and if you look at the recent past, since Mourinho won a European competition with Inter Milan [Champions, 2010] no other team had achieved it in this space of time. It is a path that we have to take in Italy to develop football. Portugal is a good example for Italy in these aspects», concluded Tiago Pinto.