THE BALL – «Ronaldo was never champion in Sporting’s formation…» (Sporting)

At the age of 37, Filipe Çelikkaya finished his second season in charge of Sporting B. In Liga 3, the lions played in the maintenance phase and were far from the top of the league table. Even so, in an interview with Jornal Sporting and Sporting TV, Filipe Çelikkaya found more positives than negatives this season: «It is necessary to take into account that they are young players who are in a learning process to reach a higher level. What I can guarantee is that players are better when they leave the B team compared to when they enter».

Asked how he manages the balance between entering the field looking for victory and realizing that winning is not everything, the 37-year-old said: “Whoever wears the Sporting jersey has to win. Wanting to win is inherent to the symbol we carry on our chest, but we have to realize that there are moments in the player’s stage of development that make it difficult right away. If I’m in the tenth grade and I want to go to university, I can’t skip two years and want to know everything.”

This season, Filipe Çelikkaya used 40 players, 17 of them juniors and two juniors, in a team with an average age of 19.55: «It should be noted that everyone here has talent, but that is not enough. Internal competition is important and they have to fight each other to see who plays the longest. That’s where talent, work and all the principles of a professional team come in, such as respect for colleagues or the way they put their face on the team. Then we have a coach in the first team, Rúben Amorim, who looks at the kids in a special way.”

Several of the athletes who were at the service of the bes also played in the main team, under-23, under-19 or even under-17. This articulation of teams is, according to Filipe Çelikkaya, a «very big challenge» and can make the theme of victories in team B something reductive: «There is a lot behind. Interestingly, I found Mr. Aurélio Pereira has been here in the corridors for a short time and he told me that we had to get young people to win in the first team. We cannot forget the past. Cristiano Ronaldo was never a national champion in Sporting’s formation and, today, he has won everything there was to win.”

Filipe Çelikkaya looks back at the Champions League debut of the youngsters who passed through his hands with «pride», but recalls: «The fact that they went there and played does not mean they will stay there. You have to look at this as a motivation to keep working to stay in the first team and not go back to B.”

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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