Simao: “I don’t see a Barça with problems; I see a strong Barça” thumbnail

Simao: “I don’t see a Barça with problems; I see a strong Barça”

The script of the professional career of Simao Tasty (10/31/1979, Portugal) always keeps lines dedicated to Barça. He landed in Barcelona in 1999 at the age of 19 to play for Figo, Rivaldo and Kluivert’s Barça. The club paid 2,300 million pesetas (15 million euros) but that fast, deep winger and with a great shot left two years, 69 games and 4 goals later at Benfica, precisely the next rival in Europe. There he played seven years and he did succeed. He crossed paths with Barça in the 2005-2006 Champions League quarter-finals, curiously with Koeman on the Portuguese bench. Today, football crosses them again because Simao is the director of institutional relations for Benfica and a defender of the Portuguese Academy, La Masia.

With Ansu, Gavi, Nico …, the Masia is now in fashion in Barcelona as well as the Benfica Academy

There are many comparisons yes. The Benfica Academy has turned 15 years old. We are super happy with the work of the managers, the coaches and the trainers… Players of a high level have come out and continue to come out.

The two clubs coincide: the quarry is the base of the first team

Definitely. Benfica invested a lot in making the Academy thinking about it. Train high-level players to reach the first team.

The list is long.

Barça have been able to count on Semedo or André Gomes. There are others, Ruben Dias, Joao Félix, Bernardo Silva, Guedes, Cancelo, Oblak … What Benfica is doing is very big. We are satisfied with what we did and what is going to happen in the future.

A factory of cracks

We have already reached excellence but the most difficult thing is not to get there, it is to stay, to maintain the level. We know that talented stars will not come out every year, but we have the conditions to do so.

This year there are Diogo Gonçalves, Ferro, Gedson, Paulo Bernardo, Gonçalo Ramos …

Speak with pride.

It is a pride to look back, what was before and what is now The Academy and the effort it is making.

You went through Barça, what do you remember about La Masia?

We had a nearby field where we trained and there was the Masia. Now you look and Barça has a very good Sports City. I remember Iniesta, who came to train and the children who slept there … I remember Xavi.

Quarry players who one year took the top three spots on the Ballon d’Or.

A pride also for Barça. La Masia, like the Academia, is a world reference.

Grimaldo left grassroots football

Yes, we are very happy with Grimaldo. He is a player who contributes a lot. Technically he is strong, defines well and has been with us for many years. He is happy to be at Benfica, in a historic club like Barça. It shows his quality and why Benfica signed him.

And Benfica and Barça, face to face in this group stage

Two teams that bet on the quarry face each other. Two great soccer teams, two historical teams that respect each other a lot, two teams that want to win, that think in the same way.

Benfica, leaders, is it stronger?

It has a very good season. We have not lost any games yet. It leaves us calm in terms of work, we are at an optimal level, but we know that all Champions teams are difficult.

Good numbers …

The truth is that Benfica is doing well. We have not lost, we have scored many goals and we have conceded few. You are where you want to be and where you should be, among the best

The Barça, on the other hand, drags many problems

The problems are not in the field. On the field there are two teams that want to win. The problems are then behind. Just listening to the Champions anthem gives you goosebumps and makes you forget everything.

What Barça do you see now?

A historically strong Barça. We all know that matches are difficult. It is a Champions League game and it has good players.

Do youThe dangers of Benfica?

I would highlight how he plays: as a team, knowing that you have to defend well to be closer to winning the game. The difference this season is defensive consistency. We have experienced back players who allow you to recover balls and play in a different offensive way. If you lose the ball, you have to be compact.

The key?

You know, if they don’t score goals, you’re closer to winning.

Barça has its own style. Do you recognize the current one who strays a bit from your DNA?

He has good players and we know what happened. Messi came out, Griezmann came out… I don’t know the situation at Barça, I don’t have much information but you look at the Barça players and they have quality and capacity, it will be a difficult game that both of them want to win, a game to enjoy. We look at Barça with the same historical dimension that it has always had.

There are system changes

As much as you have a system, the system is made by the players at one game or another.

Has Messi’s departure taken a toll on you?

But he also has Memphis Depay, another player with quality, who can make a difference, it is true that it is not easy to lose one of the best in the world, but he has also lost others in his history, from Ronaldo to Rivaldo to Ronaldinho, important in that moment and he knew how to get out of that situation.

It’s hard to replace a genius

When we talk about two clubs that give great importance to training, I am sure that Barça will find players who will contribute different things, they just need to gain a bit of security. There are always less good moments.

Are there favorites at this point to win the Champions League?

It is a strong group and we cannot leave anyone out. There are many games ahead, the favorites will be given on a day-to-day basis. Benfica will be prepared to have a good Champions League, it is one of the great clubs in Europe

And the group?

You don’t have to think only of Barcelona and Bayern. You have to think game by game and that’s the only thing that makes sense. We are in a very difficult group but football has changed, all teams are competitive and have values ​​and references that can decide one game at a time.

The Barça line-up, with many young people.

Barça has always had young people, it is true that Benfica has young people and people with experience, but Barça is also balanced. There is Busquets, Pique, Alba… players with personality and years in football.

Benfica has more balance.

It is a good sign that you are working well and that you are planning well. It is not easy to put together a template with such quality.

Has anyone surprised you?

Pedri seems like an incredible player to me. Last year he was one of the players who played the most games and all at a high level. The most difficult thing is to arrive and he has managed to arrive but also to stay. His way of playing has improved a lot.

He already played against Barça in the Champions League with Benfica. He had a key goal in his boots.

I didn’t remind myself (laughs). I have two moments from that season, the goal I scored against Liverpool and the one I missed against Barça. It was a good cross from Fabrizio Miccoli and I didn’t give him well. Here they remind me.

Koeman was on the Benfica bench.

I have good memories with Koeman. He was a coach who communicated a lot with the players, he tried to teach us things. In the Champions we enjoy a lot.

He’s not having a good time right now.

She is a club coach, she always has been, she is very confident with what she does, she has personality and wisdom.

What is Jorge Jesús like?

He works well he knows what he wants from each player and the player knows what they have to do.

When you arrived at Barça, that was a competition

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They were the best in their position. I only played when they were tired, I tried to make the best of it, it was a great experience and we still have a good friendship. Just by watching them work in the field you were already trying to be the best


Simao Sabrosa is in charge of Benfica’s grassroots football

Isabel Cutileiro / Third Parties


Simao Sabrosa is in charge of Benfica’s grassroots football

Isabel Cutileiro / Third Parties

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