By Juan Arango

Marcos Senna has been one of the players that has been fundamental in the evolution of Spain into a world champion.  Although he was not a part of the World Cup-winning side or the Confederations Cup, Senna was the man in the middle for La Furia in their run towards their first European Cup in 44 years.

At the club level, Senna has become an icon over at Villarreal. He recently became the all-time appearances leader over at Villarreal, surpassing Rodolfo Arruabarrena with 220.  Senna’s influence has been able to help The Yellow Submarine emerge into the surprise team of the season so far as they are currently in third place in La Liga.

So from São Paulo to the Spanish national team, I had the privilege to speak to Marcos about his early days in Brazil to his current form at Villarreal and his run with the Spanish national team.

Madrid Villareal v Arsenal Champions League 07/04/09 Marcos Senna (Villareal) celebrates first goal Photo Jose Antonio Sanz Fotosports International / Firofoto UK only

JUAN ARANGO:  Marcos, tell me a bit about your beginnings as a football player whe you were in Brazil with Rio Branco Esporte.

MARCOS SENNA: The beginning of my career was very difficult, as is the case with most players.  They have to deal with economic problems in order to be able to play, but I was able to overcome them.  Today I appreciate them a great deal as I was able to achieve a great deal due to the sacrifices I made.

JA: ¿Who influenced you most as a player early in your career?

MS: Of course it was my father.  He was able to give me so much support.  It’s a shame that he wasn’t able to be there when I made my debut.  He died riht before I made my professional debut and was never able to see me play professionally.

JA: You arrive in’99 to Corinthians and make your debut in first division.  It was a great time for you professionally. Tell me how you got this chance with the Timão and your experience there.

MS: Yes.  It was my first big experience at a big club.  It was a wonderful time as I got to win my first titles as a professional and to experience the tradition that a club like Corinthians had.

JA: You were on Corinthians squad when they played in the first Club World Cup back in 2000.  Tell me how the team was overall.

MS: We had a great team made up by some great players and I had the great fortune to come out on top with this particular side.

“I feel privileged to have been a part of this generation of Spanish national team. They  experienced a level of success never reached before.”- Marcos Senna

JA: Tell me what was going through your mind when you came into the match against Raja Casablanca for Marcelinho Carioca.

MS: At that time everything was quite new to me. I was very happy and I can imagine that it happens to every young player, especially when you are on a team filled with stars.

JA: Let’s talk about the final against Vasco. What do you think about this match having been on the pitch with players like Rincón, Romario, Edmundo, Juninho, Mauro Galvao and many others, including yourself.  What memories do you have of that match?

MS: A specific memory I can’t remember much other that having played with the stars that played in that tournament.  Also having won that Club World Cup.

JA: Tell me about your arrival in Spainespecially the beginning… if there was any adversity that you had to overcome.  How were you able to overcome that early part of your career there?

MS:  Coming to Spain was a dream to me because I really wanted to come to play in La Liga.  I did not have any trouble adapting to, I adjusted to the league very quickly.  You just have to be very persistent and work very hard to overcome adversity and be successful.

JA: When you just got to Spain, wha was the hardest thing to adjust to o he pitch as well as off the pitch?

MS: I had to change very little in my game what I needed to adapt to the pitch.  It’s usually wet and he game is a little faster compared to Brazil.  I just only had to adapt to the culture but that was very easy for me.

JA:  Best player you have played with in your career?

MS: To be able to select one is very complicated for me as I have had lots of teammates that were great players.

JA:  You made you debut with the Spanish national team in 2006 prior to the World Cup.  Tell me what went through you mind when you were selected.

MS: I was very happy and I will never forget the day that Luis Aragonés called me and asked to play for the Spanish national team. I did not expect it as I was born in Brazil, I never thought I could have played on another national team that was not Brazil.

JA:  After being eliminated in 2006, tell me about the experience of Euro2008.

MS:  Overall it was a great experience. It was unforgettable and in my case it was the greatest moment of my professional career up to now.

JA: How did you live the Confederations Cup and the World Cup being on the outside? Tell me about the tribute that was given to the members of the national team past and present as FIFA officials presented the crest symbolizing being world champions.  What were you feeling at that moment?

MS: It was very tough, but I was able to take it well.  I feel privileged to have been a part of this generation of Spanish national team.  They experienced a level of success never reached before.

JA:   You have recently surpassed your ex-teammate, Rodolfo Arruabarrena, in appearances in first division for Villarreal.  What do you think will be Marcos Senna’s legacy at Villarreal?

MS: I don’t know, but I continue to strive to win a title.  I am not sure if I will but I still hope and work towards reaching that goal while I am still here. I want to obtain as much as I can with the club that made me great here in Europe.

JA:  Tell me about Marcos Senna off the pitch.  Tell me what you do off the pitch in our spare time with your family.

MS: Before my kids were born, I would go out and catch a movie with my wife.  Now I still do the same thing, but with my kids.

JA:  Tell me about the Marcos Senna Foundation and the mission of this foundation.

MS: The Marcos Senna Foundation was something that came up spontaneously.  I always had a desire to help kids and the disabled.  That is part of the reason why I have formalize and create the Marcos Senna Foundation. Coming from a poor neighborhood in São Paulo, my mission is very simple.  I want to try and help.

***Special thanks to Marcos Senna.  If you want to know more about The Marcos Senna Foundation go to their website.***

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