Just as there is no disputing Spain’s current status as football’s dominant force, nor can there be any doubt over Barcelona’s role in La Roja’s ascent. Other clubs have, of course, contributed greatly, but it’s widely accepted that the world champions have looked to the Camp Nou for the heart of their team – and the ethos of their play.
A similar phenomenon could well be developing in futsal, where six of Spain’s 14-man squad play their club football in the claret and blue. Barcelona’s futsal division is also rapidly matching the success of its football equivalent, with 2012 having already brought a second successive Spanish title and a first-ever European crown.
Key to the achievements of both club and country is Torras, a player who earlier this year added an adidas golden boot at the UEFA Futsal EURO to his bulging collection of team honours. And while a top scorer prize perhaps offers a misleading representation of his role, which is more akin to Xavi’s than David Villa’s, it undoubtedly reinforced his continuing importance to the Spanish cause. Fresh honours have since followed at Barça, and the 32-year-old, a world champion with La Roja in 2004, believes the national team can benefit from the confidence and understanding forged in Catalonia.
“It’s a very important thing for us,” he told FIFA.com. “Having a lot of colleagues who know each other so well, and have been enjoying good moments together, can only help. It’s vital that you know your colleagues well, trust them completely and understand what they are going to do on the court. That’s the base every team needs, and we are lucky to have that. But I must say that it’s not just the Barcelona players. In this squad, we all know each other well because we’ve been playing together a long time. We all follow the same principles, and I’m grateful to have colleagues I can enjoy playing with so much.”
That sense of pleasure was evident throughout Spain’s sparkling 8-3 win over Panama, a in which Torras was at his muscular, majestic best. Much is expected of him and his team-mates after their European conquest, and as one of only three survivors from the team that lifted the FIFA Futsal World Cup eight years ago, the veteran Barça star is well placed to assess the chances of a repeat.
“Individually, we’re actually a very different team to the ones from 2004 and 2008,” he said. “The current players have different styles to the ones who went before, although both have great quality. But the most important thing for us is that our philosophy, principles and unity are the same. It’s true that there has been a generational change but winning the EURO proved this to be positive. It has also given us the belief that we can reach the final again here at the World Cup, and hopefully lift the trophy.
“We know how tough it will be though,” he added, “and it’s not all about us and Brazil. I see lots of teams who can win this tournament: Russia, Italy, Iran, Argentina, Portugal... all of them for sure. We know we’re going to need a great tournament to win the World Cup again.”