Bare: Bring on Barcelona

During an eventful career Al Ahli’s Brazilian striker Jader Volnei Spindler, better known as Bare, has played for 11 clubs on three continents. After spells with Guarani, Gremio and Botafogo in Brazil, Defensor Sporting and Montevideo Wanderers in Uruguay and Vejle Boldklub in Denmark, he found his way to Japan where, following stints with Omiya Ardija and Ventforet Kofu, he eventually made his name with Gamba Osaka. A J.League Cup winner with Gamba, he also helped them win the Japanese Super Cup and the Pan-Pacific Championship before earning a move to UAE outfit Al Ahli.

The burly Brazilian has struck 11 goals in his maiden season in the UAE, playing his part in Al Ahli’s first championship triumph of the professional era, an achievement that earned them a place at next month’s FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009.

And when he steps out in Al Ahli’s first game, Bare will finally fulfil a dream he came close to realising during his stay at Gamba. He turned out for the Japanese side in the opening rounds of the 2008 AFC Champions League but left for the Middle East before their victory in the final, which was the prelude to their third-place finish in last year’s competition.

With just days to go before the big kick-off in Abu Dhabi, FIFA.com spoke to the much-travelled 27-year-old about his hopes for the tournament and his career plans.

FIFA.com: Your dream of appearing in the FIFA Club World Cup is just about to come true. How do you feel about the tournament?
Bare: It’s a big event for the whole team and on a personal note I’m delighted to be taking part. You don’t get to play in a World Cup every day and I hope the team is fully focused so we can put in a good performance. It’s important that we give a good account of ourselves.

Do you see the tournament as a springboard for a move to Europe?
I’m not looking at it like that. I have a contract with Al Ahli and I’m happy to be playing here. I like life in Dubai. It’s a lovely place and the club has some fantastic resources and excellent players. I came here to help the club win things and I know that if I don’t put a lot of effort in, I can’t expect to have a future. The only way I can make a success of my career is by working hard and by being professional and committed. So any success I have with Al Ahli is an important step for my future.

How far do you think you can go at the FIFA Club World Cup?
We are confident and our dream is to reach the final. I know that will be far from easy and that we will need to be committed, competitive and respectful towards our opponents. We have to believe we can do it though.

We’re not scared of playing a team like Barcelona. Like us, they have 11 players.
Al Ahli striker Bare

What do you think about your upcoming rivals?
I haven’t been watching the other teams because we’ve been busy with our league games. I think the coaches have been looking at tapes, though, and studying them closely. We have a couple of difficult matches before we even get the chance to meet Barcelona.

You have to take on tough challenges to fulfil the most unlikely dreams and I love playing in big games. Any player with ambition loves matches like that. I can also tell you that we’re not scared of playing a team like Barcelona. Like us, they have 11 players. It’s the effort that the players put in that makes the difference.

Brazilian players usually arrive in the Gulf after they turn 30, but you came from a big Japanese club at the age of only 26. What made you come to the Emirates? Was it the money?
Not at all. I’ve never based any career-related decisions on money. I came here to experience something different with a club that has all the ingredients for success. I’ve had a few good performances already and I want to put in more.

The problem is that people are still conditioned by old perceptions that don’t make any sense. They say the Emirati league is not as good as the Japanese, but now I’m here with Al Ahli I can honestly say the championship is just as strong as Japan’s or Brazil’s. There’s a lot of competition and the game is based on strength and physical commitment.

This experience has been good for me. Money’s never been a motivation for me because I’m still young and I need to work hard to be successful. I play to win games and trophies.

Al Ahli are the title holders but they do not seem to be playing well or getting results. Why is that?
I don’t know exactly, but we’ve been through a tough patch. We lost an important player in Cesar and we also started the season with a big defeat to Al Ain, which really hit the team hard. We didn’t react quickly to that and we also had a new coach. It’s been hard for us to adjust.

Has Cesar’s departure had a negative impact then?
He’s a great player and a close friend too but that’s football. You can’t take your friends with you wherever you go.

Do you think you can sort your problems out before the FIFA Club World Cup starts?
Yes. We have a good coach and there’s a positive atmosphere at the club. We are determined to get some good results and play well. The ingredients are all there anyway, and we’re going to give our all.

What is your opinion of Emirati football?
There’s a lot of promise and it’s developing all the time. The league is strong and the players here are technically gifted. I’m sure the UAE championship will attract plenty of stars in the years to come.

Finally, where did you get your nickname from?
Bare is a famous juice brand in Brazil and I got the name when I was young because I really liked it.