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8 Of The Best Soccer Players Who Played Futsal

Soccer Players Who Played Futsal

You’d be surprised to know that some of the most famous soccer players started their career by playing some form of indoor soccer. The minor game of indoor soccer has, in one form or another, left deep marks on soccer by providing the training grounds that built players like Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and many more.

To see what these and other famous footballers have to say about futsal (the most commonly played version of indoor soccer outside the US), we rounded up some of their quotes. It is interesting to note that a lot of the soccer players who played futsal consider futsal as a major contributor towards the development of their formidable skills. And ALL of them think that futsal can help develop critical football prowess.

What is the difference between indoor soccer and futsal? >>

Is Futsal Good for Soccer Players?

Even though futsal and soccer are principally the same, the divergence in the rules and field of play is enough to make them seem completely different from each other. Most of these differences are apparent in the game strategies. Futsal is all about speed and agility. In soccer you can have longer offense and defense plans. In a way, futsal represents soccer played at the very basic level.

So, does futsal make you a better football player? Undoubtedly, yes. You develop ingenuity and finesse, because in a small space you are forced to learn to handle the ball better than your opponent. You cultivate instincts and your reflexes are sharpened.

Soccer players who have played futsal say is that even though the two games are played on a different pace and in slightly different settings, there is quite a lot of similarity in the way the players need to act.

Futsal requires quick thinking, and quicker action, translating into lightning responses during the game. Once you build these rapid reflexes, you can use them in soccer even if your overall strategy is different. Futsal builds your skill and trains your body for ball control, which is also the heart of soccer.

Best Indoor Soccer Shoes for Wide Feet–>

As to why so many footballers played futsal – it is mostly because it was and is far more convenient as it can be played in a smaller space and with fewer players.

Here’s what footballers from around the world had to say about futsal. (Please note that the list is not in any particular order).

What Do Soccer Players Who Played Futsal Say About It?

1. Rivellino (Roberto Rivellino)

Rivellino (soccer players who played futsal)

The retired Brazilian football legend, who helped Brazil win the 1970 world cup, said

“When you come to play soccer, it’s easier if you come from a futsal background”.

The famous mid-fielder began his soccer career at the age of 15 but had honed his skill with the ball while playing futsal in the streets of Brazil.

2. Ronaldinho (Ronaldo de Assis Moreira)


Ronaldinho, or Ronaldinho Gaucho, attributes his ball control to having played futsal in his youth:

A lot of the moves I make originate from futsal. It’s played in a very small space, and the ball control is different in futsal. And to this day my ball control is pretty similar to a futsal player’s control“.

3. Neymar (Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior)


Neymar has emerged as another Brazilian football star who started off by playing futsal. He still loves playing it and is passionate about the game.

Futsal helps a lot because you need to think quickly. It’s a more dynamic game and today in Europe, there’s not much space so you need to think quicker and futsal has helped me a lot with that. Futsal is one of my passions”.

4. Lionel Messi (Lionel Andrés Messi)


You’re probably wondering why Messi didn’t come on the list sooner. Yeah, we’re wondering that too. Given that this popular Argentinian player is one of the highest ranked football players in the world according to the FIFA ranking, his word carries a lot of weight. Here’s what Messi says about futsal.

As a little boy in Argentina, I played futsal on the streets and for my club. It was tremendous fun, and it really helped me become who I am today“.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo (Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro)


Now that we’ve talked about Messi, it’s only fair to add Ronaldo immediately to our list. It is quite well known that Ronaldo attributes his football success to his childhood playing futsal. According to him, the reason he has good ball control is that he used to play in close quarters.

During my childhood in Portugal, all we played was futsal. The small playing area helped me improve my close control, and whenever I played futsal I felt free. If it wasn’t for futsal, I wouldn’t be the player I am today“.

6. Andres Iniesta (Andrés Iniesta Luján)

Andres Iniesta

Another footballer who grew up playing futsal, the resilient mid-fielder from Barcelona also says that playing futsal improves ball control. It is apparent how much he enjoys the game of futsal from what he says about it

“I love futsal. I enjoy it a lot. I love their skill with the ball, the intensity of the moves, the sidesteps, the blocks, the passing”.

7. Zico (Arthur Antunes Coimbra)


So many Brazilian players have acquired their amazing football skills on the streets of Brazil that it makes us wonder how much talent is wandering around there, undiscovered.

“Everything I am as a Brazilian player, I owe to futsal”.

Zico was one of the great midfield attackers of the 70s Brazilian team, famous for his free kicks.

8. Philippe Coutinho (Philippe Coutinho Correia)

Philippe Coutinho

Philipe Coutinho, playing attacking mid-fielder on the Brazilian international team has a lot to say about the skills you can develop during futsal games

Futsal helped my play a lot. I often say that I based all my football learning on futsal. Futsal helps you to think fast, you have to learn to make immediate decisions in limited space, and it helps improve ball skills too. I love futsal and I’m very grateful for everything it gave to me“.

According to these professional footballers playing indoor soccer or futsal can really help players get better at soccer. We happen to agree with this sentiment. A good way is to begin by playing indoor soccer and develop dribbling, passing and kicking skills and gain agility which you can then integrate into your soccer game.

There is a lot to be said about the indoor soccer/futsal vs regular soccer debate, and you can learn more about the differences between them by reading our article What is indoor soccer.

In other indoor soccer player news, do check out our latest MASL favorites for the ongoing season.

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