The Libertadores match is important in itself. But specifically for the player from FluminenseTonight’s duel against Santa Fe will have an even more special flavor. Nino will complete 100 games Tricolor jersey as soon as the ball is rolled, 9:00 pm (Brasilia time) on stage with a name suggesting the occasion: Centennial Stadium of ArmeniaAnd the In Colombia. In an exclusive interview with GiveThe 24-year-old defender spoke of the brand:
– It passed very quickly. It was a sign I wanted to achieve. Feeling happy and grateful. Football here in Brazil is devastating for people. At all times, people want to shoot us down, coach us down, and they want to question our work. So staying up to 100 games with Fluminense is very rewarding.
Nino celebrates the goal in Fluminense x Botafogo for Carioca – Photo: Melson Santana
In the chat, Nino revisited his time on Fluminense from hitting the 100th match. Born in Recife-PE and trained in Criciúma core classes, Tricolor hired him in early 2019 mainly on loan. After excelling in the season, he made the club exercise the right to buy the following year:
When I heard Fluminense interested, I didn’t think twice. I said, “I can’t let this opportunity pass by. I want to go now. We will risk borrowing.” It could be because Fluminense doesn’t want to buy later and you’re back. But you need to have this opportunity. That was the decision. Criciúma didn’t want to release even the point of saying, “Look, from now on, I don’t want to play anymore. I want to go, it’s my dream. You can’t stop me from living that dream, it will be good for you too.” I’ve always made it clear that I want to To be good for Criciúma too. I didn’t want to leave for free, and after all the investment they made in from the base, they won nothing, thank God it worked, Fluminense exercised the right to buy and it was good for everyone.
Nino on display at Fluminense, early 2019 – Photo: Mailson Santana / FluminenseFC
And in just two years, Nino created a wonderful identity with Fluminense, became one of the crowd favorite and loved by the group of players and built strong friendships, such as those with Yago and Dodi (today in Japanese football), who produced great stories with FLUsquinha, And with Farid, his “duck” is in soccer (or not?) As he recounts on his podcast.
– I did not expect it (this quick identification). I didn’t know what to find. Everything was very new. I had never played in a club of this size, and I played in the First Division, in a group of experienced players. The most important thing was the atmosphere, which was impressive. The efforts of the staff, the affection we receive in all sectors, the way we are received and treated … and the affection of the fans to me too … the way the players welcomed upon arrival made it very easy. I’m glad everything happened very quickly and I got used to it so well.
Beetle, FLUsquinha, Nino, Yago, Fluminense – Picture: Disclosure / Fluminense
Nino invades Fred’s group after competing with a “poorest-dressed” player in training – Photo: Lucas Merçon FFC
We also asked Nino to pick the five most memorable games for Fluminense:
24/03/2019 Fluminense x Flamengo – Premiere
“The debut moment was unexpected. We didn’t know the reserves were going to be played, and when that moment came it was very special.”
Nino Debut With Fluminense – Photo: Lucas Merçon FFC
05/18/2019 – Fluminense x Cruzeiro – Goal 1
A goal of Fluminense! Nino veered straight towards the goal in the 44th minute
17/04/2019 – Fluminense x Santa Cruz – Fathers are in the stands
“It was the first game my parents were in watching me in Maracana and against Santa Cruz, a team from my city, where I played a lot of the time in futsal.”
Fluminense vs Santa Cruz – Copa do Brasil – Photo: Lucas Merson
05/23/2019 – Fluminense x Atlético Nacional – Debut in South America
“I had never played in the South American Championships before and it was a game we played very well, it was a very nice scene from the crowd.”
Nino in Fluminense against Atlético Nacional, for the South American Championship – Photo: Lucas Meyerson FC
04/22/2021 – Fluminense x River Plate – Libertadores debut
“It was a moment everyone expected a lot.”
Nino in Fluminense x River Plate, for Libertadores – Photo: Lucas Mercon FC
On his Libertadores debut, against River Plate, a match that Nino referred to as one of his five best matches for Flo, the defender spoke a bit about the anxiety and the team’s preparation for the long-awaited match:
– It was a long-awaited moment that brought us back a lot. We took the responsibility of knowing that the club had been playing for eight years without competing with Libertadores. We knew with the concern of the fans and staff and lived from one moment to the next in a very intense way. From trying to qualify, going into the preliminary, going straight, drawing … since Roger’s arrival, we’ve been preparing for the match of the week and there has always been something from River Plate, from the competitors we’re going to face. We really live this game. We knew we could play a great game, and that if we tried our best and were together as a group and as a team then we could make a good game, and that’s what we did.
Regarding tonight’s match against Santa Fe, the first away team, Nino analyzed:
The preparation was to take back everything we had left on the pitch against River Plate. It was a very difficult match, which required our utmost attention and physical effort. We talked to improve what we need to improve, which is something we’ve seen that we weren’t doing well against River, and to keep the things we did in a tough game as it was. I see that the team is well prepared for this match.
Nino, by the way, is the only player from the Fluminense delegation, which is traveling this Wednesday to Armenia on a chartered flight, and who played on the scene of the match tonight, one of the sites of the 2020 Olympic Games in. Time and Team Holders, he played twice at Estadio Centenario.
– It is a very good stadium. Even with so many matches a night in the first stage, we always play with a very good park. Now it should be better, without the amount of games. The structure is good, the changing rooms … I’m happy to be back there. I have good memories and victories. This stadium is my thing.
Centennial Stadium in Armenia has gardens on its sides – Photo: Bruno Kasucci
In terms of selection, in fact, after a good pre-Olympic participation and consistent performance at Fluminense, Nino lives expectations that coach Andre Jardin will remember him for the Tokyo Olympics this year. The competition would be impressive, however, because unlike the qualifying competitions in which many athletes working in Europe have not been laid off, the coach will have players up to 24 years working in the Old Continent at their disposal.
– do not worry. But I have expectations. I did well before the Olympics and that made me hope for a comeback. In the last few calls that I haven’t made, the last call was for players from Europe only. But I’m very calm about it. I look forward to what you did at Fluminense, what we achieved last year and what we did that year. And let’s wait. I’m available – he said.
Brazil national team making their pre-Olympic debut in 2020 – Photo: Lucas Figueiredo / CBF
Incorporating Nino into Fluminense, in fact, not only gives the defender a participation in the Olympics but also a journey into European football in the future. São Paulo clubs have already conducted opinion polls, and at the end of 2020, one of them made an offer, but the deal was not analyzed and was carried over because the player dreamed of playing with the Libertadores trilogy team:
Always leave everything pre-set. When 2019 ended, their priority purchase was Fluminense, for example. When it ended last year, I told the entrepreneurs, “I want to stay and compete for Libertadores.” So, if something happened, they wouldn’t give it to me, because they knew I wanted to compete in the Libertadores. I had already decided that I had this desire. They understood that I needed to live this dream.
But the future is open. Nino has a contract with Fluminense until the end of 2022. Recently, the club asked employees to start talks about a renewal. At the same time, aware of the defender’s market value and potential propositions, he works with the premise that he will not be able to hold the player until the end of the decade. So much so, that he anticipated and brought more than one athlete to the sector in the market (Manuel and David Prause). Nino, on the other hand, prefers to take everything on his time.
– It’s something that I take in a very calm way. It is not something I still can think of. I have always left it in the hands of entrepreneurs, who are people I trust so much and have all the support and support to always make the best decision – of course, talk to me. What I always make clear is that if I leave Fluminense, I intend to leave the same way I left Criciúma, which is good for me, but also for Fluminense. Do I dream of playing in Europe? You have. To live it someday. But I’m very calm about it. I have hit it big and am also living a dream on Fluminense. When it happens – and if it does – leave, be it a good thing for me and the club too.
Check out our full interview with Nino at The GE FLUMINENSE podcast, Which is available on the following platforms:
“Unapologetic analyst. Infuriatingly humble coffee evangelist. Gamer. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Student. Entrepreneur.”