Finding the way to Berlin: Sporting CP have been a revalation in this season's EHF Cup, as has their brain in the attack Rui Silva
Silva: “Responsibilty does not bother me”
Rui Silva is undeniably one of the young sensations in the EHF Cup. The 20-year-old is already a leader on the court for Sporting CP, as he is the playmaker, the one who formulates the Lions’ game on the court.
His intelligence and vision may cause a lot of problems to his opponents, but it certainly made our interview much easier. eurohandball.com had the chance to catch up with this rising star to know him better and also to speak about the club’s expectations for what is left of the competition.
eurohandball.com: How did you first arrive at Sporting?
Rui Silva: I was 17 and lived in Guimarães, played there until the opportunity came up to come to the capital and play for Sporting. In our country this is something you cannot turn down, as it’s one of the most important clubs here, so I came and I’m positive I made the right choice.
I feel really good here, the club looks after me and the team has evolved a lot. Proof of that is the season we are having at the moment: we are fighting for our domestic league title, we are in the Portuguese Cup final four and we are close to making history for our country once again with our performance in the EHF Cup.
eurohandball.com: So young and influential in your team at the same time, how do you deal with that?
Rui Silva: I’m surely not bothered by it, and I couldn’t anyway, otherwise I would prejudice the team. I face that in a very positive way, helping the team the best I can on the court. As a crentre back I have to be a leader on the court, as one of my functions is to organise our offensive game, create the plays and do the best to create opportunities for the team to succeed.
eurohandball.com: What about your strong and weak points?
Rui Silva: I have to say my vision and handball IQ are the strong points, but despite this and my position I have to admit I love to play the game quickly, to counter-attack fast, because that’s what makes the game more difficult for our opponents and also makes me think harder, and I love challenges. As for disadvantages - maybe my height and strength, nobody is perfect.
eurohandball.com: Being in the EHF Cup is already making you a name in European handball; do you know where you will be in two or three years?
Rui Silva (after a big laugh): I have no idea. The truth is that I’m always looking to evolve and reach higher and it’s obvious that unfortunately our country isn’t at the best level, despite the recent improvements. I’d like to be in one of the best countries in terms of handball level like Spain, France or Germany, because their domestic competitions are extremely competitive.
eurohandball.com: Which player would you like to face in this competition?
Rui Silva: Definitely Iker Romero (Fuchse Berlin).
“We are staring to become respected”
eurohandball.com: What balance do you make of Sporting’s campaign in the EHF Cup so far?
Rui Silva: It has to be positive because we already had a very important win in Denmark against our direct opponent of the group (Skjern), who are also aiming to get through to the quarter-finals. Plus, we won the game in Zomimak, which was difficult at first when you have in consideration the country and tradition they already have, so we are happy with our performance so far.
eurohandball.com: It’s also important to say you are the side which has scored the most goals in the group so far. What does that tell you?
Rui Silva:It just shows we have a modern style of handball, we play fast and counter-attack really well, which is following the evolution of European handball and we are satisfied to be able to put up this kind of play.
eurohandball.com: Is Montpellier favourite to win the group?
Rui Silva: Of course. When we look at their high class players, their budget and the country where they are playing, along with their experience in the EHF competitions we can’t deny that. However, we will try to counter their quality and play the best we can with our own weapons which can cause them problems as well.
eurohandball.com: Do you think they will lose some points by the end of this phase?
Rui Silva: Well, the truth is that if we get the win against Skjern, we will go to France and just play our game without pressure, showing who we are, play at our best despite knowing their capacities, because we know that we are not that inferior to them and we can challenge them at our best, without any doubt.
eurohandball.com: What makes the games against them more difficult than against the other teams of the group?
Rui Silva: It’s clearly their individual quality, as well as their experience. They are used to playing in the Champions League, the highest level of competitions there is at club level, and major competitions with their national teams, which is something that our players have not had the opportunity to do. At the moment we live in different worlds, but we are doing our best to get to theirs.
eurohandball.com: Now ahead of the Skjern game, what do you need to do to stop them from causing you trouble?
Rui Silva: We have to prepare the same way we did for the first game and it’s crucial to start the way we did in Denmark, with confidence and knowing that we have to give our best to reach the next phase. We will face this next challenge as the decisive one, as a true final, because we want to get to the next round.
eurohandball.com: Helping you with that are your fans and home court. Is that a big help?
Rui Silva: It’s definitely a huge help. We have had great attendances this season and we expect our fans to have our backs this weekend, as this is one of our most important games of the year. We need them to create a shaking atmosphere for them, to stun them and make them fear us.
eurohandball.com: Where can you get to in the EHF Cup?
Rui Silva: The main objective is to get through to the next phase. But then we will be relaxed, showing the handball world the kind of game we play, making ourselves known among some of Europe’s finest, because we know what we are capable of.
I think at the moment we are starting to become a respected team, the other sides know they cannot look down at us, as we are at the same level as a lot of them.
TEXT: Carlos J. Santos / cor
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