The winner of the adidas Golden Ball at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Chinese Taipei 2004 and the architect of many a Brazilian victory over the years, Alessandro Rosa Vieira, otherwise known as Falcao, enjoys nothing short of hero status in his homeland and around the world.
But aside from the goals and his inspirational presence, what makes the 31-year-old wide-man so admired in the game and so different to his fellow players is the amazing repertoire of overhead flicks, nutmegs, backheels and mazy dribbles he can produce in even the tightest of games. But as the Seleção prepare for their bid to win back futsal's biggest trophy on home soil, the Brazilian star is ready to sacrifice all the tricks just to get his hands on the cup again.
"Brazilian futsal is entertaining and exciting, and no one's going to change that. But our main objective here is to win," the flamboyant No 12 tells FIFA.com. "We know there will be times during this World Cup when 1-0 is enough."
Despite his improbable talents, Falcao was unable to prevent Spain making off with the world title in 2000 and 2004. "I want to win the World Cup more than any other trophy and if we have to play ugly football for nine games to win the cup, then so be it. Even so, I think we ought to be able combine jogo bonito and a winning mentality."
Falcao's latest masterclass came at the start of the month when in the final league match of the season he scored twice to help Malwee to a 6-2 win over Ulbra, a result that clinched them the title. One of the goals was an incredible overhead-kick from the halfway-line, a work of art that showed no one can marry beautiful football and winning quite like the Brazilian magician.
"Over the last few years I've learnt a lot about how to use my dribbling skills and come up with different moves. When the situation calls for something special I'll use my talents, but when the World Cup gets under way we'll be focusing on marking our opponents, dedication and winning matches. Even so, if I need to come up with an individual piece of skill, I'll make every effort to pull something off.
While Falcao and his team-mates are convinced they need to be more pragmatic, it remains to be seen whether the fans in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia are ready to sacrifice entertainment for glory. "We know how big the expectations are here. Everybody thinks the Brazil games are going to be one big show, and that puts even more pressure on us. At the same time, though, playing at home and having the fans behind us gives us a great advantage. It doesn't matter what sport you play - it's an amazing feeling for any athlete to win a world title in their country, and that's what we hope to do."