At FantasyFootballStrategist we recently caught up with Rui Marques, fantasy football’s answer to Jose Mourinho… He’s Portuguese and he’s won major titles in countries away from his homeland… continue reading and you’ll soon realise why Rui is ‘The Fantasy Special One’…
FFS: Hi Rui, welcome to FantasyFootballStrategist, thanks for taking time out to chat to us…
RM: It´s my pleasure and an honour to be your guest!
FFS: So to begin with, for our readers that may not be familiar with the famous Rui Marques, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
RM: Sure, I live near Lisbon, Portugal. I have an Economics degree and I work in the Finance Department of a USA multinational company, the Portuguese branch. I also do scouting for Estoril Praia, a Portuguese Premier League club.
FFS: As a fantasy player… how long have you been playing fantasy football and what are you playing this season?
RM: The first time I played fantasy football was when I was 16 in the mid 90’s, I entered a Portuguese newspaper game called Liga Record. When I was 20/21 I tried it with more focus and dedicated more time to it and I remember clearly being in my university classes thinking and writing possible line-ups for the following weekend’s Portuguese league matches. In 2004/2005 I started playing the UK fantasy football games, namely the Daily Mirror “You The Manager” and more recently I played the German BILD game “Super-Manager” and this season I´m playing a Belgian League game called “11 D´OR”.
FFS: Your fantasy football record reads… Daily Mirror winner (£75k), BILD winner (€100k) , Winter BILD winner (Suzuki Swift car), 3 Daily Mirror monthlies (£25k) and 3rd in the Daily Mirror 2006 World Cup (£2.5k). That’s an astonishing list! Can you tell us about the two major wins, what happened?
RM: After some decent seasons and some good placed finishes playing the Mirror game, improving my performances season after season, I prepared very hard for the 2009/2010 season and finally I was consistent all the way through and won my first major trophy. One of my most memorable selections was Gareth Bale, at the time valued at just £3 million and spending more time on the Tottenham bench than on the field. But in the January he started to get some opportunities and I brought him in after seeing that he was about to explode. And he did it, scoring crucial goals against Chelsea and Arsenal. He was the difference between me and most of the other competitors. Other players that did well for me were Darren Bent, Leighton Baines, Steven Gerrard and a nucleus of Chelsea players.
After learning about the BILD Super-Manager game, from the Bundesliga, I left the UK games and focused exclusively on this game for the 2012/2013 season. And it really was a perfect season, winning the Winter Champion trophy and the one I wanted most – the final Manager of The Season crown. Of course, I consider this achievement the best of my FF career, because I am not fluent with the German language, I spent the summer trying to improve my skills of the difficult tongue. It really was a beautiful story of willpower and effort to conquer something that would be very special.
FFS: We’re pretty sure that you’re the only fantasy football player to win two major games in two different countries, how does that make you feel?
RM: People that read this may call me arrogant but I feel very special because I don´t know any other human being that has done this. And I´m from Portugal, which make my FF wins even more unique.
FFS: Spoken like a top Portuguese manager… You spoke of trying out a Belgian game this season? Please tell us a little about the game, what league it’s based on and the prize on offer…
RM: Yes, I only found out about the game after the season had already started and I was not an expert on the Belgian League so I did some intensive research to achieve a decent performance. I don´t have too much free time at the weekends nowadays as I became a father in December 2013 and I have live games to attend every weekend because of my part-time Estoril Praia scouting work, but I decided to try it anyway. 1st prize is €25k, the game is very well organised and I will improve my knowledge about a league that is very dynamic and could also benefit me in my scouting career as I am getting to know lots of potentially great new players.
FFS: So away from fantasy football how do you spend your free time and what football related hobbies/interests do you have?
RM: Since my son Leonardo was born in December 2013, I dedicate my free time and energy to him and my wife, but when he is sleeping and my wife lets me :)… I try to do something football related. I´m 35 and I have high hopes to work full-time within a football club, so every second spent watching a match is making me stronger.
FFS: So do you think there’s a link between your scouting skills and your abilities as a fantasy player?
RM: After my 2013 BILD achievement, I sent my CV with a portfolio of my best fantasy football wins and I had positive calls from some clubs. In the end Estoril Praia gave me a great opportunity and I´m now in my second season at the club, earning money to do a job that I love. So, I guess I proved that I have the right qualities to be successful in the football industry and I work every day to gain the right steps to achieve higher levels.
FFS: Can you tell us the three main attributes that a person needs to be a successful fantasy football player?
RM: I believe the perfect FF player must be persistent, have strong analytical skills to evaluate players and a work spirit to dedicate energy and time to get as much useful information as possible.
FFS: And finally, as you’re a proven European football expert we’d like a few predictions from you… Can you tell us which teams you think will win the following…? Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Champions League… (no pressure)
RM: Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern Munchen, Juventus, Paris SG and Champions League… Atlético Madrid!
FFS: Wow, Atlético is a very interesting shout! Thanks Rui, that was truly fascinating! We’ll see you next year to ask you what chances you think Portugal, England, Germany and Belgium will have in the 2016 Euro’s! Best of luck with your fantasy career as well as the scouting!