Paulo Ferreira: I like to do my job and go home to my family

The soft-spoken former Chelsea defender talks to Tan Bo Huat about why he stayed at the Blues for close to a decade, life after football and what he thinks of the current squad...

A member of Porto's UEFA Champions League winning side in 2004, Paulo Ferreira followed Jose Mourinho and teammate Ricardo Carvalho to Chelsea in a €20m deal at the start of the 2004-05 English Premier League season.

This was the start of a nine-year association with the club, as Ferreira proceeded to prove himself a fine servant at Stamford Bridge. A spectacular but consistent player, Ferreira gave the Blues depth in defence, even as he fell out of favour at the club. Mourinho described him as "a player who will never be man of the match but will always score 7/10 for his individual display".

Ferreira's football career ended in 2013, as the English outfit decided not to renew his contract and the player hung up his boots.

In Singapore at Tiger Beer and former teammate Deco's invitation, the ex-Portuguese international opened up to FourFourTwo ahead of the event...

Why did you stay at Chelsea despite limited opportunities towards the end of your time at Stamford Bridge?

Maybe it’s my personality, I am someone who never gives up. Even when I was not playing matches, I always believed in myself, my qualities and also doing that to help the team, that’s why I stayed with the club. I had lots of chances to move but I always believed in myself and I believed I was a good help as well.

I never gave up. Some players, when they are not playing they want to move because they want to play. I think that sometimes, but I think that it was important to work hard and show the manager that he can play.

In the beginning [when I was on the bench], I was thinking ‘I want to be playing, I did not want to be on the bench’. It was not an easy decision but I always believed myself that I could be useful and that I could change the manager’s mind.

Were there any offers from other clubs you seriously considered?

There were some good clubs, but I will not mention any names. There were good clubs in good leagues as well but I decided to stay because I thought I could change things again and keep playing.

Is that why you didn’t make much of a fuss about it in the media?

It’s my personality, I am kind of like a family man. I like to do my job and go home to my family. That’s the way I am in training as well.

I think I can’t be like someone different or try to be someone different, which I think we shouldn’t do. You should try to keep the way you are.

Did you ever feel like you retired too early?

Yeah I do. I tried to play more but it didn’t happen, and I had to move on. I am doing coaching at the moment. I finished last year at the second level and now I am at the third level, so let’s see what happens. At the moment I am enjoying it, but it doesn’t mean that I would become a coach. I mean it is a wonderful experience, it is a different position but we will see. I might finish or not, but you never know.

If you weren’t a footballer, what would you be?

It's hard to say. My brothers have been playing football at amateur levels and I followed them from a young age. I always had the passion to become a football player. If I wasn’t a football player, it is difficult to focus because I have no idea what I could achieve.

I worked hard for that. Not everyone who becomes a professional can succeed. You need to work hard. You need to have good and experienced players as well. Sometimes you may have lots of talent but you may not have the opportunity. I had the opportunity and I grabbed it.

If you could change one thing from the past, would there be anything you would have done differently?

I don’t think so. Actually it is a change of position that allowed me to achieve what I achieved. When I became professional, I was playing in a different position, I was more like an attacking player, and then I became a full back, and I excelled and I have this good success.

I enjoyed all my career since the beginning, a young boy playing in the streets. I have no regrets.

So what is your opinion of the Chelsea squad now?

Of course Chelsea are title contenders. They always play to win all competitions that they are in. They brought in new players, Mourinho wants to build a team to win all competitions but you know how difficult it is to win the league. They need to fight for every game. At the moment they are doing well and I think they can win the title.

Are there any similarities between this Chelsea squad and the one that you played in?

The competitiveness, definitely. Mourinho wants players who are focused and who give everything and that’s how it’s like now. It’s a different team [from when I was playing], Mourinho returned to a very different club.

Paulo Ferreira was in Singapore for Tiger Street Football 2014. You can read more about the competition at our TSF2014 Hub, or visit www.uncagefootball.com.