Currently playing for the Portuguese side of Rio Ave FC, the Brazilian-born Belarusian international Renan Bressan is arguably one of the best footballers ever to have set foot in that Eastern European country. Being almost 27 now, the talented creative midfielder has been enjoying a good moment in Portuguese football, but he did not forget the glory days he spent at Belarus, the never ending nightmare he lived at Vladikavkaz and the brief stint in Kazakhstani football.
Last week, the Tubarão-born footballer was kind enough to give us this interview, where he highlights the ups and downs of his professional career, his hopes for the future and some interesting aspects from his passage in Russian football.
RFN – What drove you to leave Brazil and your hometown, at such a young age, to have a go at the Belarusian football league, somewhat unknown from the general public?
Bressan – I have left Brazil because I was already 18 at the time and I thought that I had to take that chance. At first, it was all set for me to sign a contract with an Ukrainian team, but I ended up going to Belarus and the risk, apparently, was fruitful.
RFN – What do you miss the most from your days back at FC Gomel?
Bressan – What I miss the most was my hair… [laughs]. But seriously tough, it was a new experience that helped me grow a lot. I think that what I miss the most is learning the Russian language and the affection supporters had for me.
RFN – In your first season with FC BATE Borisov, you were considered the best midfielder of the Belarusian league; you were also the league’s top scorer and some even considered you the best foreign player ever to have played in the country. Do you think that was the best season of your career so far?
Bressan – I believe that the three seasons I spent with FC BATE Borisov were great, each with different goals, but every single one of them were very successful! That season was quite striking, because I won my first title and received my passport, but all the three seasons were impressive.
RFN – Do you believe that the goal you scored against Bayern Munich back in October 2010 was the most important of your career?
Bressan – For me, the most important goal will always be the next one, but if I only consider my goals until now, it was the one against the Brazilian National Team back in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. But of course, the goals against Bayern Munich and against AC Milan were also memorable.
RFN – Your stint with FC Alania Vladikavkaz coincided with the darkest period of the club’s history. How would you describe those days?
Bressan – I don’t like to talk much about FC Alania Vladikavkaz, since it was the worst period of my career, especially because I was at the peak of my career back then! It was, obviously, also a valid experience but it saddens me until today, since that would have been a good moment to take a huge leap in my career, but things also fell through because the club went bankrupt.
RFN – When you arrived at Vladikavkaz, several Brazilian players were already playing for the club. Did they help in your adaptation process or was the financial and structural “anarchy” already taking over the club?
Bressan – Before joining FC Alania, I contacted the Brazilian players and the club was financially sound, everything was in place and that’s why I accepted the invitation! After my arrival and the arrival of several others, the team was swallowed by a huge crisis! Adaptation was quick, because the football and the language were the same, so I didn’t have any problems with that.
RFN – How would you describe the relationship between the Gazzaev clan (Valery and Vladimir) and the players and the remaining staff members?
Bressan – The Gazzaevs did everything they could to save the club from the situation, but unfortunately, they have failed to do so. I can assure you that they loved the club and the city, even because they are from there, but they weren’t able to counter that situation. They had enormous respect for both the players and the supporters and had an exceptional relationship with them.
RFN – Do you think that your adventure at Kazakhstan was a step backwards in your career?
Bressan – My stint at Kazakhstan only had a financial purpose, but I can say that it wasn’t just a step backwards, it was 3! But that is in the past and I try not think much about it, since I still have a long road ahead.
RFN – How did the opportunity to play for Rio Ave FC came up?
Bressan – Before I travelled to Kazakhstan, the manager, Pedro Martins, was at CS Maritimo and he wanted me to join him right then. Later in July of that year, he took the helm of Rio Ave FC and he contacted me again, so I terminated my contract immediately and came to Portugal.
RFN – Last season, you proved to be an important player at the Vila do Conde team. What are your hopes for your future at the club?
Bressan – I hope to have more playing time this season than I had last season and also achieve a greater level in all matches. I am convinced that I am on the right track and that I will be able to achieve my goals, together with the club’s goals.
RFN – Since you are a Belarusian international footballer, would you consider returning to FC BATE Borisov or having another go at Russian football?
Bressan – The Russian Premier League is definitely one of my goals for the future, since I’m certain that I didn’t have the best of lucks with FC Alania and, so, my story there is still not over! I’d love to go back to that League, in a structured team, where I would be able to show what I’m really capable of. As for FC BATE Borisov, I’d also love to return there someday, because they are a very special club for me and, even if I never play for them again, they will always be in my and my family’s heart
Follow Joel Amorim on Twitter: @Vostok1981
Author: Joel Amorim
From Porto, I started enjoying Soviet football at a very young age when I would watch Rinat Dasaev on TV, but it was probably Radchenko’s brace and Shmarov’s goal at the Santiago Bernabéu a quarter of a century ago that transformed me into an avid consumer of what was going on with the game throughout Eastern Europe. Punk rock fan and English teacher by day, football writer after the sun goes down.