- Brazilian soccer megastar Ronaldinho attended the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon on Tuesday, in his capacity as an ambassador for the emerging sport of “Teqball.”
- Teqball is essentially a cross between soccer and table tennis, requiring extremely high levels of co-ordination and athleticism.
- Speaking to Business Insider at Web Summit, the 39-year-old former Barcelona playmaker explained why Teqball is “completely different” from soccer.
- He also discussed the potential for Major League Soccer to become as strong as the established European soccer leagues in England, Spain and Germany, and also touched upon subjects ranging from coaching to who he thinks is the world’s best soccer player.
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If anyone is qualified to comment on the rapidly emerging sport of Teqball, it’s Ronaldinho: the Brazilian soccer icon renowned throughout the 2000s for his dazzling footwork and co-ordination under pressure.
Played on a distinctive curved table, Teqball is essentially a cross between soccer and table tennis, in which two-to-four players compete to score points against each other using their feet, head and chests instead of rackets.
Teqball was invented in 2014 by Hungarian former soccer player Gábor Borsányi, with Viktor Huszár, a Hungarian computer scientist; and Gyuri Gattyán, a Hungarian businessman, also cofounders of the Teqball company alongside Borsányi.
Speaking to Business Insider via a translator at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon, Ronaldinho – who serves as an official Teqball ambassador – described Teqball as “completely different” from soccer in terms of the skills it requires.
“Teqball doesn’t have the ball on the ground where the other sport [soccer] does. It’s a different set of skills. Nevertheless, Ronaldinho described it as a “complement” to soccer in terms of ball control and technique. He also called Teqball “very, very fun,” though the 39-year-old jokingly said he is now “too old” to become a professional player in the sport.
As well as discussing Teqball, the former Paris Saint Germain and AC Milan star touched upon a number of topical themes in soccer, including the possibility that Major League Soccer will soon become one of America’s premier sports competitions.
Though he didn’t estimate how long it will be before MLS becomes as strong as England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga, he said that “in the future, it might happen, yes” and noted that a number of “high level” players from England have made the switch Stateside in recent seasons. He described Lionel Messi as “perfect,” unhesitatingly mentioning the Argentine’s name when asked who the best soccer player in the world is.
Porto Alegre native Ronaldinho, who officially retired from professional soccer early last year, also said that he doesn’t want to become a coach “for the time being.” Nevertheless, he kept his cards close to his chest, adding that “time will tell” what his future career may hold.
If you’re not familiar with Teqball, here’s what the game looks like in action: