PEDRO PINTO: You coming to Russia was hard to believe for a lot of people. You were in Brazil at the Corinthians... many thought you were going to end your career in Brazil. Why did you decide to come here?
RC: In Brazil I walked around with a lot of security. Fans were threatening to fight me… so I wanted to leave that behind and then came the Anzhi offer from Suleyman Kerimov and I accepted. It’s a project with a future. He opened the door of the club for me and said “we are going to build a better team with you.” And slowly we are! We just got Eto’o, so we are building, but I left Brazil because of the violence.
PP: How would you describe your experience here? Professionally and personally? The adaptation?
RC: In terms of adaptation, it was very relaxed. The same as in Spain, Turkey and Italy. I expected the same in Russia. I was welcomed with open arms by fans of every team here. I’m cheered on by most, except for the banana incident… but there is always one crazy person.
PP: Was that hard for you?
RC: It was hard at the time, but after you stop to think about it, you can help the person who did that. A lot of people apologised for it and the person who threw the banana onto the pitch just wanted attention. Now, he can’t go to games to have fun… he has to stay at home and watch on television. It’s a shame though that racism still exists. Some people don’t understand that football is universal. It doesn’t have a race or nationality. It’s one group of people. Everyone wants to have fun playing football. A person goes to the stadium to have fun!
PP: But do you think that's a case of racism… a case of ignorance… or someone trying to upset a player?
RC: I think that's a lack of education... and that comes from your home! Education comes from home. It’s a shame that the guy is getting ready to go to a football match and leaves his house with that in mind. "I have problems at home, so I'm taking it for everyone else to see.” I don’t know… I think it’s a lack of upbringing… a lack of love for football… a lack of respect for professional footballers.
PP: A lot of people initially didn’t believe that Samuel [Eto’o] would come here. How did you convince him to come over?
RC: Suleyman Kerimov left three names on the table. Neymar, who plays for Santos… Messi in Barcelona...
PP: Messi? That would be insane!
RC: Yeah, but you don't know Suleyman Kerimov! And he also mentioned Samuel [Eto’o]. All three with contracts at other clubs… And he thought and thought. As time went by, Samuel called me. I explained the structure of the club to him… what he would mean to the club and that he would feel very important to Anzhi, personally… More than he already was [at Inter]. And we just waited for him to sign the contract. Out of three possibilities, he was the one who signed. Let’s hope there’s more signings soon.
PP: Do you think he [Eto’o] will stay here one, two years...? Do you think that he is capable of attracting the most important players? Will it be hard to keep them all at Anzhi, so you can succeed together?
RC: No. Hard? No. Besides bringing Samuel over, the idea of the owner was to bring other big players for a team that stays together 5 - 6 years. Five or six years, for sure... If the players stay here, others will come.
PP: When you talk about new players, do you already have a plan, like with the others? Do you have other names?
RC: Yeah. Some time ago, they asked me for names and I suggested some great players and they interest Anzhi. Then they started saying, “Let’s sign them!” I don’t sign them! I just give my opinion to the club and they sign them. But big names might come next year.
PP: Next year already?
RC: I think some might come in January or February… A high-level footballer for sure. Maybe two… To compete in European competitions, we need more experience.
PP: Right! But you can't give us any names?
RC: There's no set right now, but for the beginning of next year, we’re looking at a few from different clubs… players that can bring their experience and the right motivation to Russian football. Everyone thinks this is a very hard country to play in. No! In Spain, England, Brazil, it’s the same. Those who come to play adapt easily.
PP: What's the goal in three years time? The Champions League? Do you think it's possible to qualify?
RC: Qualifying, I think so... You need to win the Russian league. I don't know if we can this year, but I can guarantee our supporters that next year, we will fight for a top-three finish, hopefully, a championship.