Futsal birthed world-class football players, but yet its authoritative presence is missing from the sporting world and media. How can this be when footballers like Cristiano Ronaldo, who transferred to Real Madrid and became the most expensive footballer in history, has credited the sport for his talent?
Ronaldo stated that during his childhood in Portugal, all he and his friends ever did was play futsal, and that “the small playing area helped me improve close control, and whenever I played… I felt free. If it wasn’t for futsal, I wouldn’t be the player I am today.”
Among other superstars with futsal roots are Pele, Zico, Kaka and Messi. They all consider the game as a nurturer of their talent, and believe that it taught them how to pass and interchange more effectively, which are ultimately the techniques needed for the chance to score.
For those who do not know what futsal is, below is a YouTube video of Falcão, the best futsal player in the world, playing a match. It is an exciting and fast-paced indoor football game but with fewer players (5-a-side), and originated from South America in the 1930s. It is played worldwide, but a large majority of people have no idea what futsal is.
Puzzled as to why few people know about futsal? It mystifies followers as to how futsal is not as popular as football, especially as the game consists of skill, talent and using the beauty of the game to full advantage. Some would say futsal is more stimulating than football. However, football fanatics with knowledge of futsal have argued that the sport would never have come into existence if it was not for football.
A shock to many was the video game FIFA Street, which is actually based upon the game of futsal. Many video fanatics were shocked that FIFA Street was real, and only found out about futsal after seeing the option on the menu and decided to Google it!
As futsal birthed world-class football, which is missing from the sporting world (in that it never makes headlines and does not have its own section in the newspaper), many question how this highly skilled sport has slipped under the radar, especially as it is played worldwide. Needless to say, its lacking presence may not be the worst thing.
Football hooliganism, referred to as “ritualized male violence,” is renowned for coming hand in hand with today’s football culture. It has been explained that due to factors like interaction, identity, legitimacy and power, it reflects devotion to a football team, ultimately acting as a string of identity. In a number of countries, football hooliganism has been associated with far-right politics. This is because it became an excuse for racism toward non-White players, particularly in Europe.
Although futsal hooliganism does exist and can be dangerous, it is not as prominent. Perhaps this is because the game takes place indoors and seats fewer spectators. But as futsal has birthed many world-class football players and is missing from the sporting world and media, fans wonder at the preference to 11-a-side football.
Commentary by Melissa McDonald