Matheus Cunha has achieved something that no other Hertha player ever has – winning an Olympic gold medal! Our No.10 achieved this feat with the Brazilian national team last Saturday. The ‘Seleção’ defeated Spain in the final 2-1 after extra time, having taken the lead in normal time through our very own Matheus Cunha. “Olympic champions – it’s hard to describe. It was such an honour to represent our country at the Olympics and we are so proud and happy that we were able to bring joy to the people at home!” he said. The 22-year-old has been back in Berlin since Monday and on Wednesday he resumed training with the team. After his first session back, Cunha spoke to herthabsc.com about his success in Japan, the joy in Brazil and his return to the capital and to the team.
herthabsc.com: Matheus, congratulations again on winning gold. Have you thought about where to keep your medal at home?
Cunha: Thank you! I’ve slowly started to process what happened at the Olympics (smiles). To be Olympic champions, it’s hard to describe. I’ll obviously put the gold medal in a very special place! I still have it with me here in Berlin, but I’m going to give it to my family in Brazil so that my parents can keep it safe.
herthabsc.com: The Olympic football tournament seems to be valued more in Brazil than in Germany. Have you managed to experience some of the reaction of your fellow countrymen?
Cunha: I’ve had a lot of contact with my family which has definitely been sufficient (laughs). My parents, grandparents and the whole family were over the moon. They suffered together, celebrated together and supported me from afar. That was the case for all the players. It was such an honour to represent our country at the Olympics and of course we felt the reaction in Brazil over the course of the games. We are so proud and happy that we were able to bring joy to the people at home!
[>]It was such an honour to represent our country at the Olympics and of course we felt the reaction in Brazil over the course of the games. We are so proud and happy that we were able to bring joy to the people at home![<]
herthabsc.com: You shared the celebrations with us via Instagram, but tell us again about the scenes after the final whistle. What memories of the Olympics in Tokyo will stay with you?
Cunha: I had to let out my joy somehow and it was hard to know what to do! It was spontaneous since I was so emotional when the final whistle went. I wanted to enjoy the moment but also let many others feel part of it. We carried on the celebrations in the dressing room – we laughed, danced and embraced one another. We drank to our victory, as we Brazilians sometimes like to party (winks). Even though the games were a bit different because of Corona, I’ll think back on the tournament for the rest of my life.
herthabsc.com: You played a crucial role in the Olympic success with three goals, including the first in the final against Spain. Even so, you missed the semi-final because of an injury and your participation in the final was touch and go. What thoughts went through your head at the time?
Cunha: Not too much needs to be said about that, I was just so happy to put us ahead. It wasn’t guaranteed that I would be fit in time but I gave everything to be able to help the team in the final. Those few days weren’t easy as I wanted to play more than anything, and thankfully it worked out in the end – especially given the way the game itself panned out (grins). It was awful having to watch the semi-final and the penalty shootout against Mexico from the stands.
hertha.bsc: Now you are back in Berlin with Hertha. How did you stay in contact with the team and follow pre-season and the start of competitive fixtures?
Cunha: I would message or call the boys as much as possible. Even when I was in Japan I wanted to know how everything was going with Hertha. We grew close during the difficult times last season and that is something that you can still feel. Pre-season is always tough, as was apparently the case with the first training camp (laughs). I would have loved to play against Liverpool but our matches at the Olympics weren’t bad either (grins). I am happy that Davie scored against Meppen as a good start to the season helps you mentally and is good for everyone’s mood.
hertha.bsc: On Wednesday you returned to team training. Everyone knows you would love to be out there playing on Sunday against 1. FC Köln (17:30 CEST)...
Cunha: Of course I would like to play. We have a few days of training to go now and I feel fit and am taking part in all of it. In the end it will be the coach who decides what to do with me. The main thing is that we win and back up our good performance from last week.
[>]Of course I would like to play. We have a few days of training to go now and I feel fit and am taking part in all of it. In the end it will be the coach who decides what to do with me. The main thing is that we win and back up our good performance from last week.[<]