Being A Water Polo Player Is Always A Pleasure For Me

Image Source: Competing for Brazil at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Felipe Perrone battles for the ball with Japan's Keigo Okawa during the Men's Prelimimary Round Group B match (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Felipe Perrone fell in love with water polo from an early age. Perrone and his brother played water polo even at home - they made the couch for the goal and played a game in the living room.

After Fukuoka, in 2001, he moved to Spain to be better and to play his beloved sport at the highest level. He got his Spanish nationality (2005-2013), but because of the Olympics in Rio 2016 he changed his nationality back to Brazilian (2014-2016), and after that back to Spanish again (2018-).

The way he plays water polo is extremely unique, but his approach to the game is even more so. “I always give everything I can, my mentality is the way I live. I always like to do my best, this leads to my good mentality because I feel, I put everything in what I do.”

I Love This Lifestyle In The Water And Outside Of The Water As Well

Image Source: Felipe Perrone controls the ball in the Men's Water Polo Quarterfinal match between Spain and Montenegro at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

“Being a water polo player is always a pleasure for me. I was born in Brazil, I’ve seen, how life is going there, and it was not the best. I saw where life can go if you do not use the opportunities life gives you. It changed my perspective on how I think about life, so I can only be so grateful for the WP, for the sport, for living here in Europe. I love to participate, I always enjoy playing water polo, I love this lifestyle in the water and outside of the water. I try to work a lot and do a lot of work in and out of the pool.”

The Team Is The Priority For Me, Not Myself

Image Source: Perrone wrestles with Ryan Wright during the USA's 13-7 win over Brazil in the Men's Water Polo Final at the XIV Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Felipe Perrone is the man of the team. It doesn't matter if it's a club team or a national team, he always tries to do his best for the team - he guides you a lot during the game, helps his teammates, gives them tactical advice during any match. As he says: “I try to take care of my teammates, they are very important to me. It doesn't matter if it's the national team or the club, I really like working with them, getting to know them. That is very important to me. I hope they feel that I put the team first, not myself. I try to learn a lot about water polo, and I always pass it on. I share a lot of stories, knowledge, and experience with my teammates.”

Image Source: Filipe Perrone and Team Spain plunge into the pool at the World Aquatics Championships - Budapest 2022 (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

But what is his secret? “The experience and concentration.” Perrone underlined: “I work a lot, I have to work a lot because now I'm getting older, so I have to train more nowadays to be on the same level as my teammates. I do a lot of video analysis, I really strive to understand the game, where to be and when to be there. If it’s looking like from outside that I know the future in the water it’s because I watched a lot of games, I work a lot physically and mentally as well."

"I try to learn how other players are moving in the water or how they play water polo. I watch a lot of videos about Denes Varga, about his shooting technique, because it’s unique. I do not say that I try to copy, rather I try to understand how he is playing.”

All Things, Even Great Ones, Have To Come To An End | Doha Was The Last One

Image Source: Felipe Perrone competes with Gonzalo Echenique of Italy in the Men's Water Polo Semifinal match at the World Aquatics Championships -Doha 2024 (Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)

After twelve World Championships Doha was Perrone’s last one, but he did not realize this until the last day: “It was a bit strange for me. I did not even realize that it was the last one, until the last day of the tournament. I tried to enjoy the entire Championship, but on the last day, I sat down and realized what happened to me in the last 23 years. I had a strange feeling. My very first World Championship was in Fukuoka 2001, at the age of 15. Since then, it was a very long way, but I think I enjoyed every moment of it. I am really satisfied with that journey with my career so far.

Perrone is now reflective, looking back at his long career that’s filled with plenty of memories: “My World Championship career was a long journey – losing the final in Rome, 2009 against the Italians in a penalty shootout. Returning to Fukuoka after 21 years was phenomenal. Doha was another important memory for me because that one was the last - it was a strange feeling after the bronze match in Doha because I’ve just realized that that is the last one.

But Which World Aquatics Championship Was His Favourite One?

Image Source: Filipe Perrone defends Italy's Andrea Fondelli during the Men's Water Polo Gold Medal Match World Aquatics Championships - Budapest 2022 (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

“Budapest in 2022 was the special one. We were fighting so hard during that World Championship, and it was worth it," Perrone said. "We played in the “Maracanã”, the temple of the water polo on Margaret Island, in an open-air pool. The final was magic. It started with a beautiful sunset in front of about 5,000 water polo fans and the atmosphere was amazing. After we lost a lot of finals with penalties, in Budapest we managed to win in a PSO (penalty shootout).”

Image Source: For his 2022 exploits, Filipe Perrone was named World Aquatics Male Water Polo Player of the Year (Aniko Kovacs/World Aquatics)

What does the future hold for him? Perrone added: "I am not sure that I will not play as a professional athlete in clubs, but as a national team player, Paris will certainly be the last."