Cristiano and Rúben Santos: the twins who were born with the whistle in hand

Twelve years ago, futsal stopped to welcome Cristiano and Rúben Santos, two twin brothers who are a team of referees. Pleasing all teams is not always easy, but finding two twin referees is even harder. The two "judges" of the whistle tried a career within the four lines, but then that dash was erased. The passion arose through a challenge of the old brother, who in turn was football referee. The challenge turned into affection, making the whistle an indispensable element in the backpack since the 17 years of the two referees. After the 2019 European Universities Futsal Championship (EUC), the Santos brothers raise expectations and hope to catch up to the European Under-19 Championship in September in Latvia. The twins who rose to the national scene six years ago rarely whistle apart. However, there are times when such situations arise due to other occupations, which leads the technical teams to question whether the two brothers are upset. The relationship and the conviviality is the secret of the good performance of the referees team, which shares the same field with world-class players in the first national futsal division.


How many years have you been whistling futsal games?

We have been referees since the age of 17. We took the course at age 16 and have been referees for over 12 years. We've been teaming with each other for about six years, when we got on the national team.


Even before you started the refereeing, did you even attempt to pursue the career of a professional soccer/futsal player?

We tried hard and more than once! Talent never misses us! There was a coach who believed in our qualities. Because that did not happen, we embarked on a career as a referee, fortunately most successful than the player career, which ended before we started (laughs). Now we are on a different level, with the opportunity to be part of a first division, where we can share the playing surface with top players and great teams like Portugal and Brazil. We are happy with our career! The football career did not work, but fortunately the refereeing is going well and we hope it will continue in the next few years so we can continue to work and evolve!


Besides brothers, life led you to follow the same path. How did this passion arise?This passion comes through our older brother, who was football referee  and who challenged us to take the course. We at the time when we signed up to take the course, there was only the futsal and we had some proximity as practitioners, so we decided to go through futsal level refereeing and it has gone well.


Do you usually whistle together?

Yes, since we joined the national board, we try to team up every year together. Of course the fact that we are siblings brings us some advantages through the knowledge, the teammate, the conviviality and relationship, which allows us to understand how the colleague on the other side of the field will act. Things have been going well and the fact that we are brothers helps us even more. We are very critical of each other, because that is the only way we can do better to stay closer to our goal.


What was the best match you arbitrated together?

We have several games that have marked us, but no doubt that making playoff finals is the highlight of our season's career. Being able to share this experience and these games with your brother is an indisputable feeling, it's even better! Undoubtedly these games mark us a lot, because they are the most important national level games.”


After this EUC Futsal 2019 what is the next step to take?

As an international referee, the next step would be to be present in other UEFA competitions. In September, the 2019 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, organized by UEFA, is approaching and may be the opportunity to be present. If it is not me, so be a Portuguese referee to represent our country, this is what we expect. We worked for this, all our Portuguese referees of the main frame also work to be able to take the Portuguese flag to the main pavilions of Europe and the world. We hope that this will be possible in September and that our country will be represented by Portuguese referees, since it will also be represented by our national team.


As a child, have you ever used the fact that they are alike to play with some situation?

No, play situations we all play and sometimes we can even pretend we are one or the other, but not in serious things. In jest, we often play with friends and family, yes. Just it!


Are there any curiosities or any caricature moments inside the block that you want to share?

We always have some funny moments. One of them is the fact that whenever one of us can not be present in the game, the first question on the part of the technical teams is to always question us if we are upset with each other (laughs). They ask us this because they do not see us together, they assume that we get upset and that we separate (laughs). This is clearly the main one, the funniest one we can highlight.