Andre is one of the quiet men on duty for Brazil at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Ravenna/Italy 2011. The Seleção striker likes to keep a low profile, but given his innate gift for gobbling up the chances that come his way, that is not always possible.
The 34-year-old treats triumph and disaster as equals, staying cool, calm and collected no matter whether he is on the losing or winning side, or whether a chance has been taken or missed. And nor do beach soccer fans ever see him arguing with match officials or playing to the gallery. As far as the No9 is concerned, all that counts is doing his job to the best of his ability.
“That’s the way I am,” Andre told FIFA.com, his voice showing no trace of the emotions generated by his five-goal, match-winning haul against Nigeria in Thursday’s quarter-final. “I’m happy with the way I am. I try to stay calm, even when I’m under pressure and things get tough. I think that helps me perform better.”
There can certainly be no complaints about his performances at Ravenna/Italy 2011, which have been made all the more impressive by the fact he is not one of the household names in the Brazil squad. Belying his unsung status, Andre has been one of the driving forces of the four-time world champions’ run to the last four, underling his value to the side with his magical display in the 10-8 defeat of the Beach Eagles.
His five strikes against the Africans catapulted him to second place in the tournament scoring charts, just two behind Portugal’s Madjer, with whom he will come face to face in Saturday’s eagerly awaited semi-final.
I try to stay calm, even when I’m under pressure and things get tough.
In his own quiet way, the free-scoring forward has become one of the mainstays of Alexandre Soares’ squad, as the coach himself acknowledged to FIFA.com. “It’s more or less the same with Sidney,” he said. “They’ve been two of my most reliable players for the last five years.
“Andre’s a great striker,” added Soares, lavishing praise on his side’s quarter-final saviour. “He’s become the complete forward, and whenever things get tough for us you can be sure he’s going appear. That’s what he’s done for us up to now and he’s got us out of some tight spots.”
Soares’ faith is founded to a large extent on the player’s cool temperament. And while he would never expect Andre to shout out orders at underperforming team-mates, the coach knows he can rely on him at all times, whatever the situation on or off the pitch.
“He’s a wonderful person and a top-class player. What more could I ask for as a coach?” added the appreciative Soares. “There’s a place in this team for him for as long as he wants.”