Rute Duarte was for the first time called to the national team of women's futsal with only 14 years, now, returns to the equipment of the 'quinas' two decades later and is the oldest among the called ones.
After the stages of observation, he made his Portuguese debut at the age of seventeen in front of Spain. The last time she played for Portugal was in 2004. Since then, she has won district championships, played four times in the National Cup final and left the sport for five seasons, during which time she was a mother.
The call of the 34-year-old wing of the Valverde Sports Group in the municipality of Fundão surprised some people, but not who has accompanied the views of the only player from a team from the interior of the country in preparation for the final phase of the tournament. European Championship in Nazaré, which includes two private matches with Russia, the formation to which Rute Duarte scored the only goal in the selection.
Five times international, he recalls when he first came to a "cohesive group", led by Carlos Silva. After the 14-year interlude, she hopes to see a group "very strong, very restricted, with a range of players with individual and collective quality, together for a long time and with the machine oiled," but, in statements to the agency Lusa , stresses that it has "a word to say" from the moment it was convened.
For the years that have passed, it will be a "different experience", also because one is currently working in another way and expects to acquire new knowledge. The group he knew "no longer exists." He only shared the beach resort with Cátia Morgado, at Fundão, and says he is not afraid.
"I have to wait to see if they see me as an intruder or if they see me as an inspiration, for being 34 years old and being there," the GNR military officer who for years lined up at Boidobra told Lusa. first coach José Luís Mendes, now assistant to the national team.
The return of the Covilhã to the competition was due to the "stubbornness and persistence" of the trainer, Catarina Rondão, who had the dream to take for the first time a team of the district of Castelo Branco to the National Championship.
Once the goal was reached, Valverde's emblem became the target of observation by national coaches and the coach considers the call "a matter of justice."
"Rute has a will to overcome more than any other, an incredible spirit of sacrifice, a great resistance to difficulties, and from there to be at 14 and to be at 34," says Catarina Rondão, in statements to the Portuguese agency.
In the name of his passion for futsal, he leaves home at 07:30, takes care of his son when he arrives from work and does not return home until 02:00 am on training days.
She had invitations to leave the region, namely Benfica, but "this would be the easiest", to leave those who always accompanied her. He also considers to have been lucky with who made the course and made it evolve: José Luís Mendes, Joel Rocha, Bruno Travassos or João Nuno Ribeiro.
"We have always had very competent people here in this modality. We work with a quality that many people have not had in the big centers," he says.
During this week he hopes to enjoy the experience and absorb as much as possible, without thinking about the European Championship, which takes place in Gondomar, between February 15 and 17, with the difference that this time will not have little Francisco around in the spa .