F1: Massa's heart beats in Brazil's stadiums, streets

Backs protests in homeland, loves Italy, but supports Brazil

F1: Massa's heart beats in Brazil's stadiums, streets

(By Leonardo Nesti) Fiorano, June 21 - A son of Brazil, Felipe Massa currently has one eye on his country's soccer fields, another on its street protests. The Formula One season is very much alive at the moment and soon there will be a series of key races for the outcome of the championship. But a piece of his heart remains in his homeland. That is both because of the Brazil national soccer team, the Selecao, who will take on his adopted country Italy tomorrow, and because of the protests in the streets of Sao Paulo, Rio and other cities to call for greater social justice. Massa is a big soccer fan and he knows that football is a very serious matter in his country. But what is even more serious is its desire to grow and become an even greater country, and a more just one too. In an interview with ANSA, Felipe does not hesitate to take the side of the 'vinegar revolution'. "I'm in favour of these protests because there are lots of things that have to improve, lots of things for the Brazilian population, for its people," he says. "I'm definitely in favour. Let's hope it's the start of something that makes the politicians and the people in Brazil work to do what is needed. "Brazil is a gigantic country that has grown a great deal, but in many ways it still has to grow a lot more," he adds, while stressing that: "obviously I'm against any form of violence". But as a typical Brazilian, Massa is also feeling soccer fever ahead of next year's World Cup in Brazil, which the host nation 'must' win. As part of the path that leads up to the World Cup, tomorrow presents a contest that is a little special for him. His country will take on his second homeland: the country that adopted him, the same one from where, many years ago, his grandparents departed in order to seek their fortune. "When Brazil aren't playing, I'm Italian and I support Italy," Massa says. "But when the Selecao are on the field, my colours are green and gold, there's no doubt. That's why tomorrow I'll be supporting Brazil". When Felipe was 13, children of his age in Italy were in tears because Roberto Baggio missed a penalty. But for him and his country though, the World Cup in the United States was a triumph that they had been waiting 24 years for. It is a triumph that they would like to see repeated at home next year. In this period Massa is busy at Maranello with technical meetings, gym training and work on the simulator. He is well-loved and is made a fuss of by everyone and he has a smile and time for a few words with everyone: from the Ferrari managers to the security guards. Despite this, he hopes the Italians are in for a little sorrow tomorrow night. "We have Neymar, his time has come, but there are also lots of other players who can perform well," he says. "We have a young team that is developing. The Confederations Cup will be good practice for the World Cup, which we want to win, above all because we are playing at home". However, he likes Cesare Prandelli's Italy and if he could borrow a player for Brazil, it would be an easy decision for him. "I'd chose (Andrea) Pirlo," he says. "We have good forwards, a good defence. Pirlo would be useful, he's very good. "(Mario) Balotelli is a major talent, but I'm happy with what we have in terms of strikers". And even though he is far away, tomorrow night his heart will be in Brazil. It will be there to give a contribution to cultivating the collective dream of an entire population - that of having a greater, healthier, more just country. And, maybe, being the world champions too.

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