FIFA legend Andre Cruz represented Brazil for many years. His long international career began at the FIFA U-16 World Cup. The former defender, who retired from the game, had the privilege to compete in the first World Championship in the age group China VR 1985 for A Seleção before he became U-17 player competition in 1991.
After his international debut, Cruz played in 1988 at the U-20 World Cup and the men’s Olympic football tournament in Seoul for Brazil, before moving to the senior team. The highlight of his career at Seleção was his appointment to the 1998 FIFA World Cup France ™.
“As a kid, I was asked if I had a dream to play the game professionally,” Cruz told FIFA.com. “I started at Ponte Preta, had the chance to play at a higher level, became a team captain and then got the call from A Seleção. At that time, things began to happen in my career. It’s great to play for Brazil. It’s the biggest thing you can hope for when you play. “
51-year-old Cruz is looking forward to the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 ™, which begins on October 26th. The ex-player of Ponte Preta, Flamengo and Milan said he had recently searched online for information about the 1985 competition, hoping to revive the memories of his debut in Brazilian yellow.
The former Seleção followed Brazil’s preparations for hosting this year’s U-17 World Cup, fully trusting the country thanks to the experience it has gained in organizing major sporting events.
On Thursday he visited Vitoria, one of the host cities of the tournament, to explore the local facilities. Renato Casagrande, Governor of the State of Espirito Santo, accompanied him on his trip to Estadio Kleber Andrade; Junior Abreu, Regional Minister of Sport; Gustavo Vieira, President of the State Football Association; Marcus Vicente, vice president of the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF); Ricardo Trade, manager of the Local Organizing Committee; and Thiago Jannuzzi, the Competition Director of the Local Organizing Committee.
“It’s always important for Brazil to host a FIFA World Cup, even when it comes to youth,” said Cruz. When it comes to organizing big tournaments, I can say that we have made really good progress in recent years. “
Cruz and Brazil finished third in China in 1985, losing 4-3 to West Germany in the semi-final and defeating Guinea 4-1 in the play-off for third place.
The game for Brazil in youth can make it easier for young players to join the senior team at a later stage of their careers: “The more contact you have with A Seleção, the better your career will be. I was fortunate enough to be part of a generation that, together with Taffarel, Bebeto, Romario, Jorginho, Branco, Ricardo Gomes, and Geovani, became a full team.
“I’m also one of the few players to have the privilege of playing for Brazil in every U-16 competition,” he added. “I played in the U-20 World Cup, the Olympics, the Pan American Games, the Copa America, the Confederations Cup, and the World Cup.”