Born in Concordia (Brazil) 29 years ago. He has played in some of the best futsal teams of the planet and shared the locker room with players as good as Falçao, Ari, Lenisio, Gadeia, Ricardinho or Humberto. He has two Spanish leagues and two Spanish cups in his list of achievements and he is an European champion with Movistar Inter. He has played in Brazil, Spain and Russia and today, in Futsal Corner, we look back at his career while we share a coffee with Darlan.
Para leer la entrevista en español, haz click aquí.
Question: Which are your memories from your childhood in Brazil?
Answer: I had a very good and happy childhood back then. I remember above all that I played football in the streets almost every day. I had lots of friends and, that was all that mattered!
Q: The image that we have from Brazil here in Europe is that every single children is born with a ball under their arm. Was this the case?
A: Yes. Back on those ages we did not have smartphones, tablets or anything similar, so we went out, of course, with a ball in our hands.
Q: What was the job of your dreams when you were a child?
A: I always wanted to be a futsal player. I also studied a lot, just in case. You never know when you have to change your plans!
Q: How did you start playing futsal?
A: I started training in a mini football school when I was six. When I was nine, I already played in championships all over Brazil. Then it was when I decided that I wanted to be a futsal player.
Q: How was your first experience as a professional player?
A: It was in 2006, when I was 17 years old. I received an offer from Jec Krona of Joinville. There is where I made my debut in the national futsal league. It was a great opportunity to share a locker room with Ari or Fininho among others. I was then at Vander Iacovino orders that, is still training there twelve years later!
Q: After a year in Joinville, you moved to Malwee Jaraguá. There you played with Thiago, Falçao or Lenisio. How do you feel about your years in Malwee?
A: I arrived there in 2007 and spent three years there sharing great moments. I consider this as one of the best moments in my career. Playing with such good partners made me learn a lot and get much better!
Q: In 2010, you signed for Intelli and stayed there for another three seasons.
A: Yes. It was in Intelli where I was brought up as a futsal player and also the place where I spent the hardest moments in a futsal court. My first year there, I was the top scorer of the team and we won the Paulista league. The next two years I torn the ACL of my knee twice. I needed to be quite a long time away. But you learn from everything and I came back stronger each time.
Q: During the time in Intelli you suffered two injuries in your knees. Later on, you also get injured some other times although maybe not so seriously, but, what is the worst part for an athlete when he gets injured?
A: The worst part is to know that you are not going to help your partners in the court. A player is raised to be in the court, not to be locked in the physiotherapy room!
Q: How do you face the recovery of a long term injury as the ones you had in your knee?
A: Knee injuries are the ones every player is most worried about. It is a long term injury and it is also very painful!
Some years ago, it was very difficult for an athlete to come back to his level after an injury this serious, but now it is a different thing. All the new techniques and advances in medicine, most of the times it is healed properly. Sometimes without pain in the area!
Q: How are the first games after an injury that bad?
A: The first games are very special for the happiness of being back to what you love. They are also very difficult as you are not 100% sure of the injured area. But little by little you get into the games till you are as good as new!
Q: In the year 2013, you decided to leave Brazil and jump to Europe. How do you get the opportunity of going to Russia? Was it an easy decision?
A: When 2010 season finished I had many offers from Russia and Europe to go and play there, but I was still very young. Three years later, the opportunity came back and I decided it was the time. I needed new challenges, but leaving my country was not easy at all.
Q: At a personal level, new language, extreme climate… How was getting used to Novosibirsk? What do you do in a city of Siberia when you have some spare time?
A: Getting used to the cold days and the language was the most difficult part. Many days I did not go out of my house because we were at -20 or -30 degrees. The times I decided to go out, I went to shopping centers or restaurants.
Q: Talking about the game, did you find many differences with the way of playing in Brazil? Was it easy to get used to it?
A: The rhythm in Russia is lower than it is in Brazil. The Brazilian league is, for me, at a competition level, the toughest in the world. There are plenty of teams that are capable of competing. We still need to learn many things from countries as Spain from the way they organize the league. But inside the 40×20, I did not have any problem to adapt my way of playing.
Q: After two years in Russia, Movistar Inter knocks to your door. Again a new country, new lifestyle… How was your time in Torrejón playing for them?
A: I always wanted to play in Spain and when I received the call from Movistar Inter I did not wait for a second to say yes. I knew that I was going to play for one of the best teams in the world. The change to Madrid was also to a city and a country that I knew they had a very good lifestyle. There was also a lot of sun and not a lot of cold. (Laughs)
Q: Last summer, after winning absolutely everything with Movistar Inter, you came back to Russia. What do you think that did not work in those two years in Madrid?
A: Personally, I arrived injured to Inter. I had a problem in my knee that was produced by a hit I got in the right knee in one of the last games I played in Russia. Because of this problem I could not make the whole preseason with my partners and had limited practice almost for four or five months. To sum up, my girlfriend could not stay in Spain with me because she did not have a visa. That was the toughest thing of these two years.
In any case, there were two very successful seasons. Six titles (he won a supercup, two leagues, two league cups and a UEFA Futsal Cup) and a lot of important games that I was useful for the team. That is what I keep. I am really thankful for everything Inter has done for me in these two years that I played for them.
Q: Did you study other offers but the one from Sibiryak?
A: No. My wife and I wanted to be near each other and that was the most important thing to take our decision.
Q: How did the fans react to your comeback?
A: When I left, I left the door wide open for a comeback. When I announced that I was actually coming back, they were willing to watch me playing for them again.
Q: Do you have any plans after futsal? What do you have in mind to do when you hang up your boots?
A: There is still a lot of time to that, but I have some projects in mind. Time will say, but I am pretty sure of something: I will not be a coach! (Laughs)
Q: Now, some quick questions. Favorite movie?
Q: Favorite TV series?
A: Game of Thrones.
Q: Favorite music band?
A: Revelaçao (pagoda, samba’s subgenre).
Q: Outside futsal you are a fan of?
A: Corinthians (Brazilian football team).
Q: Favorite food?
Q: Last book you have read?
A: The Intelligent Investor (Benjamin Graham).
Q: Are you superstitious?
A: No. Not at all.
Q: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would you choose?
A: Mario Sergio Cortella (Brazilian university professor, philosopher and writer).
Q: A city to visit?
Q: A city to live?
A: Lisbon (Portugal).
We want to thank Darlan from Futsal Corner for his kindness to answer to our questions although he is in the middle of the season with his team in the Russian Superleague. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to know better to this globetrotter of the futsal planet. We wish you and Sibiryak the best for the rest of the season.
Author: Rubén Robles (Twitter: @MrRobles21)
Cover image: Sandra Santiago