Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Matheus Cassini: From São Paulo to Madison

Below is an unabridged interview with FMFC midfielder Matheus Cassini, edited slightly for grammar/spelling/accuracy. We’d like to thank Matheus and Katie for their time. If you’re a Patreon subscriber ($5/mo), you can listen to the interview audio in full.


Andrew: There she is.

Grant: Hmm. Hmm.

Andrew: I have an infatuation with the Zoom lady just because she takes no shit, okay? She’s very intentional about her work. Anyway, Matheus, thank you for joining us. We got to talk with you a little bit this last Saturday and I think it went really well. I think the fans really love to hear from you, so we wanted to get you on here and talk with you a little bit more so the fans can get to know you a little bit better. And we brought our friend Katie on who speaks Portuguese so that she can help translate. I don’t speak any Portuguese at all, but yeah. Welcome. Thanks for joining us.

Matheus Cassini: Thank you. Thank you for invite.

Andrew: Absolutely.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: I asked him if, because he was nodding and stuff and I was like, do you speak English? And he says that he understands a lot more that he can say, but he’s working on it.

Andrew: Cool. Yeah, you spoke very, very good English this last weekend when we talked with you. I was very impressed because when I asked Evan, I was like, how much English does Matheus know? And he’s like, “I think he knows more than he lets on,” but I think that I do that too though. Anyway, yeah. If you want to, I guess Katie, Matheus, how do you want to do this? Do you want to… We can phrase our questions and then restate them or…

Matheus Cassini: No. Yeah, if she can help. I prefer because I feel more comfortable.

Andrew: Perfect.

Grant: Yeah. Absolutely.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Andrew: Sweet. All right. Just to give you, Matheus, some background on what we do, I don’t know if you saw the article that we ended up posting after the game. We do previews and recaps of all of the games. We like to talk with players and coaches basically to help the fans get to know them better. That’s our main objective.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: He says yeah, he saw it. He saw that you mentioned him. He thinks it’s all really cool. And yeah, he does follow the posts.

Andrew: All right. Grant, you want to lead off with our first question?

Grant: Sure. Matheus, what is your background as a footballer? When did you start playing and what were you interested about when you started playing and is there a player that inspired you or that you look up to?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: He says that he was 12 years old when he started playing football seriously so that he had already played it before that, but that was when he got serious about it. And he always knew that it was something that he always felt he knew how to do, that he was good at and always had the conviction that he would be able to realize his dream of becoming a professional football player. In terms of a player that inspires him, you guys may have picked that up, but he said Ronaldo and he says that is the player that has inspired him and continues to be the player that inspires him, is one of the best players that he’s ever seen play because of both his talent and his personality. He identifies with him and yeah, he also said it was one of the only players that inspires him, which I thought was an interesting addition.

Andrew: Are we talking Portuguese Ronaldo or Brazilian Ronaldo?

Katie: Cristiano Ronaldo.

Andrew: Okay.

Matheus Cassini: Cristiano Ronaldo, yeah.

Andrew: Alright. Second question. You started your youth career at Corinthians. Did you grow up in Tatuapé and what was it like spending your formative years in a big city like Sao Paulo?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: He was actually born in São Paulo and so it was less about the city and more, of course, it was the largest soccer team in Brazil, but then he was already accustomed to that type of life being born in São Paulo, and that’s where all his family is and his friends. And so for him, it was something that was natural.

Grant: Okay. Matheus, we’ve talked previously about how important family is to you. To what end has the support come from your family in Brazil? How supportive have they been of your career bouncing all over the world? And are you close with your family in Brazil and how often do you get to see them?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: He says that his family has always supported him in his career in every way. He lived at home or was home until 18, 19 years of age, and that was the first time that he left and has been gone ever since. He’s only been able to, he goes back for vacation when there’s the periods or breaks for vacation time, but he maintains contact with them in the way that you have to, in the way that you can and you do. It’s part of, as he says, a footballer’s life. And so, whether that’s through video calls or phone calls, that having them close and is part of his life in the way that is possible, whether it’s one way or another. Going back for vacation or there have been times where if they’ve been available to come and be with him wherever he’s playing in that country, but he also mentions, he said that sometimes that’s the only way to be close to your people, but his wife also lives with him and has lived with him in all of the places that wherever he’s playing. Yeah.

Andrew: Just adding onto that question a little bit, changing directions slightly, you signed for Palermo at the age of 19, was pretty young. What was it like moving to a different country in a different culture at such a young age?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: Okay, so he said that what was difficult in the beginning was the language and that the question of language, obviously arriving in a place and you don’t speak it. The other was, it was different style of play, a different way of playing the game, but he started learning the language and that really facilitated his adapting and being there. And he says that it was really after four or five months, which then I said, that was a very quick time. And he said, well, it’s not. The language isn’t that different from Portuguese relatively, and that after that things were much easier. And then he said that Palermo specifically where he was in Italy is culturally not that different from Brazil, and so culturally it felt similar. The main questions were the language and the style of play.

Andrew: Cool. That’s good. Good to know that if I visit Sicily and like it, then I’ll probably like São Paulo as well.

Katie: I’m just going to translate the comment Andrew made.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: He says he’s absolutely certain that you would love and like the culture of Brazil, total certainty. Italy, who knows, but Brazil, you’ll definitely love it.

Andrew: That’s fair. That’s fair.

Grant: Yeah. My man, you played and or trained in Brazil, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, France. What drew you to Madison, Wisconsin, besides the tropical weather that we get here and beautiful sunsets, like we have right now as it’s pouring rain, but what made you want to come to this place?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: He says that he’s played in so many countries, so many countries, and so the United States was one of the only places that he hadn’t played in and so he thought it would be good to put it on his resume, but all joking aside, all jokes aside, he had had it as part of something that he wanted to do, which was come to the United States to play. He says he had been here four times before and it was already his objective to make his way to the United States. And so, when he got the opportunity to come here and play at that moment and his life, it was definitely not something to waste. And so, came and sees that opportunity, and then in terms of the climate, he says that he’s a bit more accustomed now, but when he arrived, which was February, it was very, very, very cold.

Grant: I caught that. I caught frio. I caught that, because Matheus, I’m like you where there’s a couple languages where I understand the language when I hear it, but I can’t speak it back.

Matheus Cassini: Yeah.

Grant: It’s frustrating because I’ll understand what someone is saying, but I can’t communicate back to them.

Matheus Cassini: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: Yeah, so clearly he understood everything you said, Grant. He said that yeah, that’s one of his problems is that he understands everything that people say to him, but when he goes to respond, he can’t, the words don’t come out or knowing the words, but he thinks and he’s sure that in a couple months from now, his English will be much improved and that’s how it was with Italian and Spanish and just now turning to English. But when you know many languages, there can be a struggle there, but in the next few months, he’s sure that he’ll be on top of it.

Grant: Great. Excellent.

Andrew: Matheus, what’s been the biggest adjustment or surprise to living in Madison, beyond the weather?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: The thing that has most surprised him since he’s come here is just how well received he’s been. And so, he spoke first about the fans and how we fill the stadium and it reminds him as if he was in Brazil. In Brazil, all the games, the stadiums are always filled. And so he said that it feels like you’re at home, but then made the joke that except it’s not cold at home.

But other than that, and so, before he came, he was wondering and thinking, how will it be in the United States? What will the United States be like? And he’s been really, really surprised with how well supported he’s been. First he spoke about the fans, but then turned to speak about whether from the players or the staff, he’s gotten all the support he needed, that he needs for both him and his wife and it’s really been a great experience. And now that the weather is improving, it is all perfect. And then I said, well, right now it’s literally raining, but he said, but it’s chill now. It’s the weather, the weather is chill. It’s not what it was.

Grant: Yeah. That’s good. All right. What do you do for fun or leisure outside of the game of football, my friend?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: Okay. He says, that’s actually such a funny topic because he was just chatting with his wife about this, what he likes to do. And for him, he’s like, what he loves to do when he’s not playing soccer or football is to do nothing. The less there is to do, the better. He would rather just be chill, watch TV, watch a movie, Netflix. Just Netflix and chill vibe. But actually, his wife is the total opposite. She likes to go out, she likes to do things. And so, would rather go out, go around the city, go to a park, shopping, et cetera.

And so those are the two lanes of his free time. And so either relaxing at home or going out, and he said that they had just gone to one of the activities they just did was that they went to the zoo and that was really cool and fun, but when he’s more in his lane of just chilling and relaxing, that he just really tries not to think about football because it is so exhausting, with all the trainings and the games. And so to just try to disconnect and not think about football and think about other things is key to actually relaxing during that R and R time.

Grant: Okay. Awesome.

Andrew: Kyle, seeing as how you just got your first tattoo, you can take the tattoo question.

Kyle: Yeah, obviously you have some amazing tattoos. The one that really stood out was the one of the devil that’s on your arm. What was the story behind that one? What motivated you to get that or what inspired it?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: Cool. Okay. You guys asked about the devil and he said that it’s really, it’s the devil and then there’s an angel on this part [points to upper arm]. And so generally, says that with new people, and he jokes about this, but with new people, depending on whether or not they respect him, if they’re people of character, et cetera, if they’re good people, you can get the angel side, but if they’re not people of good character, if they’re “bad” people, then they’re going to get the “devil” side of him. And says that he thinks that all people… And so he says that’s part of who he is, but he also says that he thinks that all human beings are like that. That they have a good side, an angel side, a good side and a bad side, a devil side.

And we choose which side to show and which side to be and highlights how that is very much in relationship to who he’s around. If they’re his people, if they’re people of, in Portuguese you say people of confidence, if they’re your people, or if they’re people who are disrespectful, bad people, whatever. That changes which side of Matheus they get. And then he started talking about his other tattoos.

Katie: Okay. The first tattoo that he ever got, just because he thought it was beautiful, is a Indian woman with a lion, and then has another one that’s a skull with–

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: Okay. It’s an eye with a skull inside.

Andrew: Oh, cool.

Katie: Yeah, so it’s an eye with a skull on the inside and then he’s actually doing right now, one on his back that is the seven deadly sins, jealousy, cetera. And he says that once that one’s done, he can show it to us.

Andrew: Oh, cool. Sweet.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: His wife doesn’t love the tattoos. She doesn’t like tattoos and says that all the time, as he gets more and more, that he’s looking more and more like a book. And so, happily or unhappily, happily for him, but when he gets more, but it creates total chaos in the house when he does.

Andrew: Is he seeing somebody locally, like going to a shop in Madison to get work done or?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: Here in Madison, he hasn’t done any tattoos. He has a tattoo artist in Brazil that he works with that he likes so he hasn’t, he says he even looked for a tattoo artist and in Brazil, but, or sorry in Madison, but didn’t really find.

Grant: We have people.

Andrew: Yeah. I know. I’m very picky about who I go to, so I get it.

Grant: Yeah.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: He says, “well right now is the moment to focus on football. Let’s get some wins under us and then we can circle back to this and do research on the tattoos. But right now is the moment to focus on the football.”

Andrew: Great.

Grant: All right. You’ve mentioned your partner. She’s moved with you wherever you’ve been. How did you meet and what is your favorite thing about her? Out of everything about that person, what’s your favorite thing?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: He says that they had a lot of friends in common, but they somehow had never met, even though they still had lots of friends in common. He also said, they’ve been together for eight years, and he says, and they hadn’t met. He sent her a message on Facebook. She responded and then they met up. And that he says that from that first day eight years ago that they’ve never separated. And he says, it just felt like from that first conversation, like they had already, they had known each other forever. And in terms of what he most likes about her, he says it’s an unfair question. It’s a question he can’t answer because it’s a little bit of everything. That-

Grant: Good answer.

Katie: It’s the person who in the world who most knows him, who gets him, who understands him. He likes everything about her. She’s the mother of his daughter. She’s the person who’s always stuck with him, stuck by him, accompanied him through the good, through the bad, who knows him, his good parts, his bad parts, his faults, and that she is everything to him. And he says he could speak till tomorrow about this, answering this question because of that, so he’s like, I’ll pause here.

Andrew: That’s a good answer.

Kyle: Yep. Perfect. Perfect.

Grant: Yeah.

Kyle: I guess we can jump into more of our lightning ground questions. The first one is going to be, what music are you currently listening to?

Katie: And so does lightning round mean?

Andrew: There’s three rapid fire questions. Don’t take too long to think about them. Just try to answer them as quickly as possible. And there’s three, but we step through them one at a time to give people a chance to respond.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Matheus Cassini: Okay.

Katie: [in Portuguese]: What music are you currently listening to a lot?

Matheus Cassini: Samba

Katie: Samba.

Andrew: Samba? Anything in particular?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: Okay, so the song is Tá Escrito. “It is Written.” The group’s name is Grupo Revelação.

Katie: Yeah. Yeah. I got you. Okay.Kyle:All right. Next one is going to be, what’s your favorite film and why?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: Yeah. His answer was a TV show series, rather than a film, and that’s what he’s watching right now. It’s a Brazilian series and it talks about, it’s about the history of police and prisons. And he says it really shows things that people in Brazil try to hide and shows, it really demonstrates what life and worlds are like inside prisons and that in Brazil, including questions of corruption, both on the part of politicians, but also the police also has the part of the bad guys.

Matheus Cassini: It’s gangs.

Katie: Gangs. Okay. All right. There you go.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: It’s a series that’s on Netflix, but he says that generally he just likes watching police TV series. But in English, it’s called Brotherhood.

Andrew: Ah, Seu Jorge is in it.

Matheus Cassini: Yeah, yeah, “Syoo Jore-jay” [laughs].

Andrew: Or however it’s pronounced. I’m sorry, I’m butchering that probably incredibly, but the Brazilian musician who is in The Life Aquatic doing all those David Bowie songs is the main character on the show.

Katie: I’ll just translate that, Matheus said that he thinks it’s a good recommendation. It’s a show that is really worth watching and he did make fun of your accent.

Andrew: Good [laughs]. I’m sure it’s… Yeah, like I said, I don’t speak Portuguese at all.

Kyle: Perfect. All right. And last question is what book, what was the last book you read and did you like it?

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: He started laughing obviously, and he was like, “Well, I think the last time I bought a book was three or four years ago, and I had gone into a bookstore with my wife and I had four books with me and she was just like, why are you going to buy these books? Why are you buying these books? You buy books and you never read them. You buy them, you buy books that you don’t read.” And so he says, he honestly can’t remember the last book that he read. He thinks it may have been Ronaldo’s biography, but he thinks even that, he got halfway through and then put it down and never picked it back up again. It’s difficult for him, but he says he doesn’t know why he has this thing where every time he goes in a bookstore, he buys a book, even though he doesn’t read them.

Grant: It’s like us in record stores.

Kyle: I deeply relate to that. I completely get it, buying a book and then never actually getting robbed to reading it. No, that is me in a nutshell. That’s why I have to rent a book so it forces me to read it within a certain timeframe.

Grant: Yeah. That’s absolutely me with records.

Katie: Mm.

Grant: Yeah. I’ll end up buying a record and be like, oh yeah, I want this record. Two years later, I’ll be like, why is this seal still on this record? Oh, that’s right.

Andrew: There’s a Japanese word for this phenomenon. Tsundoku is the Japanese term for buying books and never reading them. I also do this.

Katie: Does it have the solution?

Andrew: No. No. Apparently it’s a problem that cannot be solved.

Grant: So we’re all nuts. All right, great.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah.

Kyle: Perfect.

Andrew: Hey, someday. Right? When I have time.

Katie: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Kyle: I’ll just pass it down to this one. He’ll pick up that habit.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Well, Kyle, did you have any additional questions? Grant, Katie? Do you have any additional ones? Because those are the ones we had. I want to respect Matheus’s time tonight.

Kyle: I do not. I have to get this one ready for bed, but I greatly appreciate, Matheus, you jumping on.

Matheus Cassini: Obrigado.

Katie: He says thank you.

Kyle: See you guys.

Katie: Bye Kyle.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: Okay. I just asked when the baby was going to be born and he said the presumed date is in a month and a half. Month, month and a half.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: I just asked if he felt like he was ready, if he was prepared, and he said, yeah. Yeah, I mean, obviously it’s more just feeling nervous and anxious and just wanting to meet this little human already and being able to hold her and just wanting to meet her, but of course, also nervous, also has these moments where it’s just nerves, because it’s like, it’s his first child and his wife is this and so sometimes it oscillates, but generally just anxious and ready and excited to meet this little human. He said that his wife is the same, but yeah, that they generally feel prepared, but it’s now the baby is moving around a lot and kicking and, or doing whatever it is that babies do in there. And so just feeling like it’s getting closer and closer, but they feel prepared.

Andrew: Good. Good to hear.

Grant: All right.

Andrew: Well, thank you Katie, for translating for us tonight. You’re a huge help.

Grant: You’re the best, girl, but you know this.

Andrew: Yeah. Matheus, thank you so much for joining us.

Matheus Cassini: You’re welcome.

Andrew: Glad you’re entertained by my bad Portuguese accent. My bad Brazilian accent. It’s funny because my friend who is Scottish who lives in Glasgow, every time that I see him, he has me talking in a Scottish accent and he does the same thing. Makes fun of me for it, so I’m used to it. It’s fine. But thank you so much for your time tonight. This was super fun. We’ll have to do it again.

Grant: Have a safe flight, man.

Katie: Mm-hmm.

Matheus Cassini: Obrigado. Thank you.

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Katie: He says thank you. Thank you so much for the invite. It’s such a pleasure, loves having the opportunity to talk. Thanks for all the support and making him feel so at home and he hopes, believes, same word in Spanish and Portuguese, that he will… His English will be improved the next time we all speak.

Andrew: Brilliant.

Grant: It’s okay. It’s okay. You’re doing great, man. You’re doing great.

Matheus Cassini: Thank you very much.

Grant: Yeah. You’re doing great.

Matheus Cassini: I’m sorry for my English, but —

[Katie and Matheus conversing in Portuguese]

Grant: No apologies. No apologies. You’re doing great.

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely.

Matheus Cassini: Thank you.

Andrew: All right. We’ll see you all next time.

Grant: Andrew, I’ll see you soon.

Andrew: Yep. Sounds good.

Matheus Cassini: Okay, see you.

Andrew: Alright. See ya.


  • Andrew Schmidt

    Eclecticist, FMFC supporter, Flock co-founder, designer of things, and taker of photos. Writer, wrench, motorcyclist. Pro-intellectualist, anti-pedant. Drinker of coffee and greeter of dogs.


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