Interviews

Q&A WITH DONATO

30 Apr 2020
Donato offered an interview to La Voz de Galicia. The Brazilian now works for Deportivo as an ambassador for the club foundation and talked of his experiences after ending his career.

Q: It could be said that you werenít a regular footballer, because you were always almost more concerned with the future than with the present.
A: I have had many friends who, when I was young, showed me that way. And others that I saw were going where they shouldn't. I learned from both. I started playing when I was 18 and I experienced many things, so I took note of everything and followed my idea. Also, I had a family that helped me a lot to go down that good path.

Q: And when you are a player, many friends will also appear who are interested in playing with your money.
A: Sure. Many false friends appear. We have many who come to you to get something or to enjoy the moment. I always talk about this, because I have been disappointed with people that I thought were friends.

Q: Football moves so much money that it attracts many people.
A: But it isnít what people think. Everyone thinks that all footballers earn like Messi, Cristiano and Neymar. And it isnít true. Many at Primera donít exceed five or three hundred thousand euros. And half goes to the National Treasury. The careers are short and, if you donít prepare for the end, then you can have a very bad time.

Q: Did it happen to you?
A: No, but I am always worried, because I lived it in Brazil. National players who later had difficulties. And now it's being seen here, in Spain. There are people who have to go back to work because they spent all their savings.

Q: Since you left football you joined different businesses, and it didnít always succeed. Did you have bad experiences at the level of deception?
A: Years ago I set up an inn with a person who I thought was a friend. And it didn't come out. There I can say that I had a bad time because of that disappointment. Then I got into other businesses, because I wanted to feel useful and work. I would have liked to do it in the world of football, but I had no luck there either. Until Paco [Zas] arrived and remembered me. And what I do recognize is that I have been very unlucky.

Q: For the partners?
A: No. I donít know why. Look, I have worked in various areas and with top quality products that we didnít manage to place on the market and, over the years, they were a boom.

Q: Has that experience frustrated you in any way?
A: No, frustration is not the word. Yes disappointed. What perhaps has frustrated me is not having reached more in the world of football. I have had authentic jewels with the players, which have not loved me, and then they were bought by millions. For example, Maxi [Lůpez], the one who played for Celta. I offered Diego to Atlťtico when I was in Porto. It cost 4 million. They didnít want it. And then they bought it for many more. Or Oblak, who had us complete the operation and then we found that another got the business. So, I feel very tired of fooball. And I've already given up. I was never an agent. I was just helping a friend, after looking closely at the players. But... I got tired.

Q: But in theory, having been a footballer, it should have opened doors to you.
A: In theory yes. But it's not like that. Look. I am as I am and I will not change. If I gave in on some things, I might have been luckier. I am very happy with the life I have had. Itís true that in some things I could have been luckier, but I never lowered my pants and I am not going to do it now. But that also happened to me as a coach. They wanted one or the other to play. And I, the experiences that I had, put those that I believed should play. I can be fired for the results, but not for giving up to pressure.

Q: Do you mean your experience at Viveiro?
A: Not only that one, but yes. I didnít want to go, because I had more to lose than to win. But at first it was all wonderful. Good words. Great gestures. Then they started saying that that man had to play or the other. And I didnít pass it. Before, in Greece, with Mazinho... We were third, losing only one match. And they told us that there were players that we couldn't use. But... how are we going to put a player who we don't think should do it?

Q: Have you been bribed in any negotiations with players?
A: No, because I never negotiated the price. I'm not talking about taking pants down for doing wrong things like that, but for not giving in to pressure or changing my way of being.

Q: As a player you also suffered misunderstandings?
A: You are right. Because I always wanted to do things right and I rebelled when I saw that I didn't like something. And then... (he laughs) Then it turns out I had to justify my age for years. I got to play until I was forty, but they wanted to retire me every year. People don't know what I had to fight with the club and with the coach.

Q: Is it painful that players who contributed less gained much more?
A: Not so much, everyone has the right to collect what they sign. But, God, many times I had to beg for ten thousand euros to be raised. I will tell you that if I would have had an agent, I would have earned much more and I wouldnít have been that long at Deportivo. And then there was Irureta (he laughs again, now with a knowing gesture). I always argued with him about my age. I spent five years arguing because he said I was old. And I said to him, "I can compete with anyone." And, of course, in the end, he was putting me again (he laughs).

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