Few players can match Javi Rodriguez's achievements on the international stage. The Spain captain was playing in his fourth final in four FIFA Futsal World Cup appearances on Sunday, and although he failed to add to the winners medals he collected at Guatemala 2000 and Chinese Taipei 2004, the ageless Rodriguez has had another tournament to remember in Brazil.
A veteran of 32 FIFA Futsal World Cup matches, 27 of them wins, three draws and only two defeats, Rodriguez has scored 16 goals in all. And minutes after seeing the tournament hosts regain the trophy on penalties, the No 7 shook off his disappointment to share his thoughts exclusively with FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: Javi, how do you feel right now?
Javi Rodriguez: I'm sad we lost, of course, but I'm happy to have played in yet another final. I've played in four World Cups, appeared in four finals and won two, and I think we should be proud of taking Brazil all the way to penalties.
Tell us how you think the game went.
It was as close as we expected it to be but both sides had a lot of respect for each other. Brazil just had to win today, I suppose, because you always have an extra gear when you're playing in front of your own fans. We went out and played our own game and tried not to run around after them, although maybe we could have been a bit more attack-minded. Sometimes, though, you just have to adapt to things the way they turn out. I think we are the best two teams in the world and we showed that out there today.
Is this your last FIFA Futsal World Cup?
Definitely. Spanish futsal will be in really bad shape if I'm still around for the next one. I'm 34 so there's no way I can think about another World Cup now and you've also got to give the ones coming through a chance. With so many foreigners in the Spanish league there aren't as many home-grown players emerging as before, but even so I'm sure we'll see a new generation appear.
Which was the best team you played in?
The side that won in Guatemala. This team here is a good one too, but the side we had back then had more individual quality.
What do you think about the standard of futsal in general?
I think it's stood still a little, but we all need to pull together and make sure it keeps on developing steadily. Some teams have come on, though. In the past you used to turn up and hammer almost everyone, but that's changed now. Overall, everyone's pretty much on the same level and teams like Iran, Italy, Russia are getting harder and harder to beat.
Brazil won the title in Spain in 1996. It would have been nice for you to return the favour today.
Absolutely, and we almost did as well. They got the breaks in the penalty shootout, though, and that was that. Even so, I'm proud of the team because they gave everything.