João Rodrigues is one of the biggest names in international rink hockey. This Portuguese athlete is one of the world’s best players and has just commenced a new stage in his successful sports career this season in Barcelona.
Part of the Barça Lassa squad, the Portuguese forward is aiming to expand his record at a club level, but this is not his only goal in 2019. João also wants to take the Portuguese national team to the top of the podium in Barcelona at the World Championship, which is set to be held from 7 to 14 July as part of the World Roller Games.
“Playing for your country in a world championship is a very exciting challenge and a great feeling. We will try to do our best in the knowledge that winning will be very difficult,” claims João Rodrigues, who hopes to remain a key part of the Portuguese team. “Portugal is experiencing a moment of change because the coach we’ve had for many years is now our Federation President. We still don’t know which players our new coach will have, although I hope to be in the team that competes at the World Roller Games,” he explains.
“Spain will be the big favourite in Barcelona, given that it is the current world champion and will be playing at home. Some of the other contenders are Argentina and us, Italy, France and perhaps some other team that can spring a surprise and make it too, like Angola or Chile,” the Portuguese goalscorer predicts. Like his country’s Federation and the World Roller Games, he also has the backing of the sports material company Azemad Sport.
Rodrigues is looking forward to the World Championship, but without a specific spirit of revenge after losing the last penalty shootout final: “Spain played better and deserved to win at the last World Roller Games. It is now up to us to work to reach the final again because anything can happen in a match. Fighting for gold in Nanjing gave us confidence after many years without a world title, so now we are really going for it.”
“Competing in a world championship in Barcelona, which is now my home, and at Palau Blaugrana, where I play with my team, will be very special for me. I’m really looking forward to it,” concludes the Portuguese star.