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Matheus Rossetto’s aims with Atlanta United: titles and goals

March 8, 2020 Atlanta: Atlanta United midfielders Ezequiel Barco (left) and Matheus Rossetto work against FC Cincinnati during a 2-1 victory in a MLS soccer match on Saturday, March 8, 2020, in Atlanta.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
March 8, 2020 Atlanta: Atlanta United midfielders Ezequiel Barco (left) and Matheus Rossetto work against FC Cincinnati during a 2-1 victory in a MLS soccer match on Saturday, March 8, 2020, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Matheus Rossetto's silky moves in limited minutes for Atlanta United have made him a focal point of fascination for the team's supporters.

To read descriptions of his potential on social media, he could be a cross between Ronaldo, who is his favorite player, and N’Golo Kante -- a player with the skills to move up and down the spine of a formation with limited drop in skill.

Rossetto, in his first interview since joining the team in February, provided some clarity on his best position, his goals, life in Atlanta pre-COVID and his love of guitar.

“My goals are to win titles,” he said with the help of an interpreter on a Zoom call while in Orlando. “I want to score goals. I’m looking forward to winning this tournament and looking forward to possibly winning the MLS title whenever the league starts again.”

To help the team do that, Rossetto said he feels his best positions are as a central midfielder or attacking midfielder. He said he thinks he can get the ball side to side and help teammates get into the attack. Manager Frank de Boer last week mentioned using Rossetto in those positions, as well as a false striker. Rossetto showed flashes of that in the second half of a preseason friendly against Birmingham, in 23 minutes of a league game against Cincinnati and then in a start against Club America that was cut short after 13 minutes because of an injury that he said has healed.

Winning titles is something that sold him on signing with Atlanta United. After 85 appearances with five goals and five assists at Club Athletico Paranaense in his native country of Brazil, Rossetto said he had offers from other clubs in Brazil, as well as from teams around the world, but appreciated the master plan of the MLS club.

“The club and MLS are growing every year,” he said. “That’s something I want to be part of.”

If he, like the league, continues to grow, it may help him fulfill his dream of playing for a Champions League team in Europe. He said he watches Manchester United, Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund.

Sheltering from COVID-19 in the bubble of a hotel in Orlando, Rossetto said his father, mother and girlfriend are safe in Brazil. He hopes when things return to normal that they can visit him in Atlanta.

Pre-COVID, he said he was enjoying his time in the city. At first, because of the language barrier, he said it was difficult even to order food. But he is learning English, can order food and hopes to be fluent enough to speak it in his next interview.

He understands enough Spanish that he can communicate with his teammates and de Boer.

Among the ways he entertained himself once sheltering in place was mandated was by playing guitar. He is proficient enough that he was featured in an MLS series of videos about talents players have.

He said he learned because of rainy days in Brazil.

He played futsal. When it wouldn’t rain, his team couldn’t practice. His dad bought a guitar because he wanted to learn. But because Rossetto couldn’t practice futsal, he decided to practice guitar.

“I started to get good and develop an interest in getting better,” he said.