Thursday, December 9, 2021

Senna – a Brazilian out for Spanish Euro gold

SoccerNews in European Championships, La Liga 8 Jun 2008

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The most successful footballing nation in history has no place at the European Championships – but one Brazilian is still hoping to triumph on the Old Continent at Euro 2008.

Marcos Senna, midfielder with Spanish top flight side Villarreal, was born in Rio de Janeiro 31 years ago but has taken Spanish nationality and now hopes to become the first Brazilian to lift the trophy – Portugal's Deco having just failed four years ago by losing the final.

Senna won the World Club Championship with Corinthians in 2000 and is one of five samba stars at this year's Euro finals along with Deco and Pepe of Portugal, Poland's Roger Guerreiro and Germany's Kevin Kuranyi.

It could have been six had Croatia's Arsenal star Eduardo Costa not had to miss out through injury.

“I'd love to be the first Brazilian to win the European Championship,” said Senna.

“Brazil exports many players right round the world. After spending some years in their country of adoption they feel they can identify with that country.”

Senna doesn't think about whether he might have had the chance of ending up in Brazilian yellow.

“It's something I don't dwell on – I like playing for Spain,” he insists.

“Many players leave Brazil very young attracted by the money on offer in other countries and don't as readily get the opportunity to become internationals with Brazil,” he explains.

Marcos Antonio Senna Da Silva came to Spain in 2002 and has helped Villarreal into the Champions League after they finished runners-up to Real Madrid.

A month before season's end he scored with a 50-metre lob at Betis after spotting the keeper off his line and, as he is not a prolific scorer – he netted just four times during the campaign – Senna reflected that “that one was the most beautiful goal of my life.”

Senna gives Spain a credible alternative to Liverpool's indefatigable Xabi Alonso and he appears to have won his way into coach Luis Aragones' line-up to face Russia on Tuesday in Innsbruck.

“I don't know if I'll start as there is plenty of competition – but that's healthy,” he said Sunday.

Aragones has long been a fan and following his nationalisation quickly took him to the World Cup in 2006.

“One day, Luis Aragones came to see me to say that if I was naturalised he would be counting on me. That gave me a big boost and I was naturalised in 2005. Playing for Brazil would have been more complicated as there are many high-level players.”

For him, though “Spain is number one.”

Villareal have managed to hang on to his services even though no less a club than Manchester United expressed some interest in him last year.

Modest to a fault Senna told El Pais daily in a recent interview that “if I was as complete as people say I would be at Real or Milan.”

On Spain's chances here Senna asserts that “the Spanish team have qualities close to those of Brazil. We just lack the titles!”

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