- The goalkeeper was instrumental in Brazil’s Olympic success
- He scored his country’s fourth goal versus Russia in the final
- He conceded just three goals of the seven allowed by Brazil
Upon receiving his gold medal after the men’s final at the Youth Olympic Futsal Tournament Buenos Aires 2018, Francoar began to cry. The rest of the victorious Brazilian side set about dancing on the podium; only fellow goalkeeper Mateus, by his side, realised and gave him a hug.
“I don’t know what came over me – I just started crying,” the goalkeeper, one of Brazil’s key players in Argentina, told FIFA.com.
The talented No1, who scored the fourth goal of Brazil’s 4-1 win over Russia in Thursday’s showpiece match, added: “Between my club and my national team, I’ve been away from my family for almost five months, and I was thinking of them. You make a lot of sacrifices to enjoy moments like these, and I got a bit emotional.”
Emotions, then, were practically the only thing to get the better of Francoar at Buenos Aires 2018, who proved to be the type of ’keeper that every tournament-winning team requires, making no obvious mistakes and saving the shots that needed to be saved. Indeed, of the seven goals that the South Americans conceded in their six matches, he let in just three of them.
“I just did what I had to do. The goal was obviously something special, but it also felt wonderful, as I’d never scored before,” he recounted with a smile, sitting in the changing room with a Brazil flag still draped around his shoulders.
Francoar began playing futsal at the age of 11 in Guamare, a rural municipality of 12,000 inhabitants located in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.
He was 14 when he took part in Gol de Letra, a non-profit initiative set up by former Brazil internationals Leonardo and Rai, which uses sport as a driver for social change. It was then that he became a goalkeeper.
“They told me I was suited to it, and once I tried it out and made a few saves, I realised that that would be my position. And I’ve been a ’keeper ever since,” explained the player on the books of Minas Futsal, one of the founder clubs of the high-profile Brazilian Futsal League.
Now 17, Francoar is an admirer of other goalkeepers on the international scene, such as senior Brazil custodian Thiago, and Kazakhstan shot-stopper Higuita. Inevitably, the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup features heavily in his career aspirations.
“This has all been wonderful, and I would love to enjoy similar experiences in the future,” he said. “I consider myself fortunate; there are many others who would like to be here in my place, at the Olympics. And the level of play in the tournament has been very high, which underlines what an achievement it is to win the gold medal.”