Fluminense youngsters join FC Istres through Sambafoot partnershipMatheus Leandro will wear the number 9 shirt at FC Istres this season -
The 20-year-old attackers will spend the 2013/14 season on loan in France as part of the deal and Matheus has already appeared in a friendly against Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne.
Below is Sambafoot’s interview with the young Brazilian…
Can you introduce yourself to the French public?
My name is Matheus. I started off playing Futsal in my city of Minas Gerais, before I joined Fluminense at the age of 12.
How did you arrive at Istres?
Sambafoot were in Brazil to observe me and set up a partnership between Fluminense and the French club. They liked my work and different qualities so I did a three-week trial in April with Istres.
What do you think about France?
This is a good country, very different from Brazil. I'm happy here, very happy. There is a good future for me here.
And what do you think of French football?
It is more physical, technical and tactical. Brazilian football gives more freedom, but tactically it is not as demanding. I think I will fit in well in French football.
How are you adapting?
The language is difficult, but the club has welcomed me very well. The food is very good here too. I am making an effort to adapt to the tactics as it is not as sharp in Brazil.
What is the most difficult for a Brazilian who arrived in France?
It is communication and distance from family in Brazil.
Do you personally know any Brazilians playing in France?
I know Lucas Mendes, who plays for Marseille, and he is a great person, very humble. We have already been able to eat together at a restaurant. Brandão, I have not talked to him but I guess he is a pretty cool person.
What do you think of the Istres team?
This is a close-knit team. It does not have many stars but it is a strong team. I will fight for this team to finish in the top five of Ligue 2.
What are your main characteristics?
I am a centre-forward, like Ronaldo. I'm pretty physical, not slow or fast for a player of my size. I'm a striker and although I have yet to score here, there will be goals this season.
How do you see this partnership between Istres and Fluminense?
Fluminense has many players and tries many partnerships, but some do not work. But with Istres, all went well. Fluminense believe Istres is a serious club and it's good for both parties.
Who is your favorite player?
My favorite former player is Ronaldo, and now I like Cristiano Ronaldo.
You recently played against Saint-Etienne in a friendly? Was it a good experience?
It was a very good experience, it's a dream to be able to play against a first division team. Playing against Brandão was also a great experience. I hope to play a lot this season and next season in Ligue 1.