Former junior footballer Rafael de Sousa is eagerly awaiting Euro 2012. Between two car trips, the golfer from Geneva of Portuguese origin will follow him with interest behind the screens. His heart will be shaken by the exploits of Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates.
In 2008, his best year, he almost joined the European Tour, which brings together the golf elite of the Old Continent. Today, after a difficult few years, Rafael de Sousa is fighting on the Challenge Tour, the European Tour's waiting room. At 29 years old, the Genevan of Portuguese origin is gradually returning to the heights he reached in the past. With humility and clarity, and drawing on his experiences, the golfer expects to have a great year in 2012.
On the eve of going to Belgium to participate for the third time in this season's tournament, the former footballer spoke about the Euro he is eagerly awaiting.
“Football was my whole life.”
RTSsport.ch: You know a little about football, don't you?
I have played football since I was eight years old in Cologne. At that time, it was my whole life. I definitely wanted to be a goalkeeper. I remember playing alone in our garden at the Cologne Golf Course where I lived with my parents (editor's note: his father maintains the course). I asked people to come and shoot me for training (laughs). I had a lot of fun, I did
Pretty good, but I didn't necessarily stand out. When I was thirteen, I finally took up golf, which I played a lot with my father.
RTSsport.ch: Do you see any similarities between these two sports?
Rafael D'Souza: These are ball sports. Body coordination is as essential in soccer as it is in golf.
RTSsport.ch: Who will you support during the Euro?
Rafael D'Souza: I support Switzerland and Portugal. Since Switzerland is not there… I love Portuguese football. It speaks to me, takes me back to my roots. I really related to him.
RTSsport.ch: Does this football make Portugal favorites in Poland and Ukraine?
Rafael D'Souza: The Portuguese have a tough group. They have the potential, and they are among the candidates. But the best game doesn't always win.
“Next to a historical address”
RTSsport.ch: You mean Greece and Portugal's defeat in the Euro Championship final (Editor's note: 2004)?
Rafael D'Souza: Yes, but this is not the only example. Chelsea's Champions League semi-final victory over Barcelona is another matter.
RTSsport.ch: Is this defeat against Portugal in 2004 one of your worst football memories?
Rafael D'Souza: Yes. It was really disappointing, we missed out on a historic title.
RTSsport.ch: Were you there?
Rafael D'Souza: No, but I have a friend who went there with his father. Moreover, every time he goes on the field it's a bad sign… (laughs). He was also at Camp Nou for the match against Chelsea.
RTSsport.ch: What if we had to recall a very good memory related to football?
I was in Italy during the 2006 World Cup. I remember the quarter-final match against England. It has come to sanctions. Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo took his gloves off and I think he stopped three blocked shots. That moment really blew my mind (Editor's note: Portugal won 3-1 on penalties/0-0 after 120 minutes of play).
RTSsport.ch: Will you follow this euro?
Rafael D'Souza: I'm at tournaments most of the time during these competitions, but I'll follow them as much as I can.
“Ronaldo is an unbelievable player.”
RTSsport.ch: How is it going, are you watching the match with other players?
Rafael D'Souza: Yes, I started to know people. We share these moments with other Swiss, the French and Belgians in particular.
RTSsport.ch: And it's a bit boring?
Rafael D'Souza: Oh yeah (laughs)! I remember that I was in Morocco during the Spanish El Clásico match. There were people I didn't really know, especially the Dutch. We never stopped teasing each other, it was great.
RTSsport.ch: You've said that Portugal is your favorite. Do you particularly like the gamer? Ronaldo?
Rafael D'Souza: He's an unbelievable player. He left his small island of Madeira and won the Ballon d'Or. Every season he scores a lot of goals. This requires respect, even if it is sometimes arrogant. Messi is a great player too, but with a different attitude.
RTSsport.ch: If Portugal qualifies for the final, will you oppose them?
Rafael D'Souza: I don't know if it's possible in terms of groups, but I would like it to be Spain. There is great competition. It would be nice to see.
Commentaries collected by Ludovic Perochaud