This interview with former FC Porto and Sporting winger, the Portuguese international Ricardo Quaresma, was made by the journalist Nuno Raposo and appeared in the sports daily A Bola (29/09/15). On any copyright issues, please contact footballportugal.)
Thursday 01/10/15 will be a special day for Besiktasí Portuguese international Ricardo Quaresma: the Turkish side play Sporting in the Europa League.
A Bola: This wonít be the first time, but does playing against Sporting still affect you? Is it a special game?
Ricardo Quaresma: Itís always good and itís always special to play against Sporting. Thatís where I grew up, and thatís where the doors of football opened up for me. As Iíve said a number of times, itís a club I like and which Iíll respect for the rest of my life. Obviously itís going to be a special game, but as a professional, Iím going to do my job and defend my clubís colours.
B: How do you think Sporting have been doing this season?
Q: I think theyíre good, they have good players, a good team, a great coach, but you have to give it time. Weíre all at the beginning of the season. So thereís still a lot to do. Now, I see Sporting evolving more and more and I think that itís going to be a great game on Thursday.
B: Which players are the most feared, or the ones that deserve most attention? Has the coach talked about that?
Q: I think we have to pay attention to the whole team. Sporting have good players in all positions. So Iím not going to talk about one, two or three players. I think I have to talk about the whole, and as I said: I respect Sporting very much, but Iím going to defend my club and play to win.
B: You know our football well. How do you see this game going?
Q: I predict a game with a lot of fight, heart and teeth. And whoever has more chances can decide the game. I think thereíll be two teams giving all theyíve got. Itís important for Sporting to win because they lost their first game [1-3 to Lokomotiv], and itís also important for us because we won our first game and if we beat Sporting it will be a big step forward.
B: Are Sporting stronger with Jorge Jesus?
Q: Yes. And as I was saying, the season has just begun and thereís still a lot to do, thatís normal Ö We have to give coaches time. Heís just joined Sporting, he has a squad thatís completely different from the one he had, so I think he has to be given time. But itís not worth us talking about his quality because heís a coach that has a lot.
B: Thereís mutual empathy: he likes you a lot and you like him a lot. Would you like to be coached by Jorge Jesus one day?
Q: I donít know whatís going to happen tomorrow, life has a lot of twists and turns, but itís true that heís a coach Iíve always liked and admired, a coach that gets a lot out of players, but at the same time a coach that admires their quality and talent and gives them the confidence to play their football. At least thatís what he transmits to those on the outside. At this moment Iím fine where I am and I wish him all the luck in the world, except against us.
B: And can I ask what was said in that conversation with Jorge Jesus in that game between Benfica and FC Porto last season?
Q: You mean the hug?
B: Yes, the hug.
Q: It was a simple hug. A year before, in an FC Porto v Benfica that we won 1-0, the game ended and I went and gave him a hug and no one commented. Thatís football Ė they always have to catch onto something, and they caught onto the hug.
B: If you score against Sporting, will you celebrate?
Q: I already have scored Ö but it all depends on the moment. But whether I celebrate or not, Sporting will always be a club I respect. I left there a long time ago, and youíve never heard me speaking badly of Sporting, and you never will. Iím not the kind of person that spits on the plate I was given food on. So, itís a club that Iíll always respect very much.
B: Have you talked to any Sporting players?
Q: No, actually I havenít, I havenít spoken to anyone yet. I saw that William came back against Boavista and I hope heís fit because heís a great plyer and Sporting need him.
B: Is this return of yours to Turkey going well?
Q: Yes, itís going well. Weíre still at the beginning, I started a little later, but everythingís ok. Iím also starting to feel a bit better fitness-wise, and Iím sure Iíll have a great season, along with the team.
B: You must feel good here because on Sunday, against FenerbahÁe, although you didnít get off the bench, you could hear the name Quaresma being chanted all over the stadium Ö
Q: I feel great respect, great love and great affection for these fans, and thatís given me more motivation to play and defend this shirt. I feel at home here Ė no money, nothing, can buy that feeling. Here Iím playing happier, Iím playing to enjoy the football to the utmost, and to make these fans happy.