Goalkeeper Vítor Baía says there is one current Portugal player he’d love to line up with again at Star Sixes – and it’s not Cristiano Ronaldo!
The Champions League-winning former Porto stopper played 80 times for his country and will return to international action in July when he represents Portugal at Star Sixes, the inaugural six-a-side tournament at The O2.
It was during Baía’s second spell with the Dragons that he linked up with Ricardo Quaresma, a talented and skilful winger who had joined from Barcelona. The pair won two Portuguese titles together before Baía hung up his gloves.
Since then, Quaresma has played for Inter, winning the Champions League, a very brief loan at Chelsea, and now turns out for Turkish club Besiktas. Meanwhile, he helped Portugal win EURO 2016 and is in their squad for the Confederations Cup in Russia this month.
And his ability clearly has had an impact on Baía, who believes he would be an ideal player for Star Sixes.
“I’d love to have Ricardo Quaresma in our side for his style and for being a player with a high level of technical ability,” said Baía, who also enjoyed a stint at Barcelona.
“I think he would fit perfectly with the spirit of the team and of the competition. He is a great player.”
However, Star Sixes is for former international players, ruling Quaresma out. Nonetheless, the Portugal side is shaping up very well and Baía believes they stand a good chance of lifting the title in London.
With his ex-Porto teammate Deco leading the side, they also have Maniche, José Bosingwa and Fernando Couto confirmed, with more big names to follow.
“If we were still playing, I am pretty sure we would win the competition, as our team quality is quite high,” continued Baía. “In this phase of our career, though, I think the most important thing is to be a part of the event.
“Team spirit above everything is something we will have, and I am looking forward to getting together with some old teammates with whom I have shared unique moments.”
He added: “Star Sixes will allow us to revive old memories. I believe this is something the football fans have been waiting for too, the opportunity to see their idols playing again.”
You can see Baía and his Portugal teammates take on Denmark in their Group B opener at The O2 on Thursday 13 July. The following night they meet Germany, captained by Michael Ballack, then in the Saturday afternoon session they face Robert Pirès’s France.
Fans heading to any of the three group stage sessions will see all 12 teams in action, and legendary names in the world of football including Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand, Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Alessandro Del Piero, Marcel Desailly, Michael Owen, Luis García, Carles Puyol, and Jay-Jay Okocha.