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Chants of Lucio, the levelheaded

DECCAN CHRONICLE | SURUCHI KAPUR-GOMES
Published Nov 1, 2015, 5:27 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 7:01 am IST
Former Brazil defender Lucio (Photo: AFP)
 Former Brazil defender Lucio (Photo: AFP)

The Samba footballer has an intense desire to win, but at the same time is as humble and singleminded in his pursuit of excellence

All footballers have an innate intensity on the field, immense belief in their prowess and of course the singlemindedness on the dribble, cross or header. Lucimar Ferreira da Silva better known as Lucio, Brazilian footballer and former skipper, is rock solid when it comes to defence. A part of the World Cup-winning Samba nation, he exhudes consistency and solidity on set pieces and headers, but there is a marked difference to his football-ology — it’s the sum total of his faith in God.

 

As the skipper and marquee player for FC Goa in the ISL this season, Lucio is again resolute in defence and a conduit in the midfield helping the footballing state realise its aspirations. For the former Bayern Munich, Juventus and Inter player, the ordinary football was just destiny in the form of the bouncy object — yet not many know that Lucio went straight to international playing, “My time in Brazil was very good and my family was supportive of my career. I did not play or train in any professional environment, I directly got into professional football with the prayers and support of my family and God,” quips the centre-back.

Through those playing days, Lucio has only learnt and honed that incredibly agile talent, “My happiest and most cherished moments in football would have to be winning the World Cup and having a successful career with the Brazilian national team and also playing in Europe for clubs like Bayern Munich and Inter Milan and winning the Champions League,” says the stalwart with characteristic humility.

And now, playing under the legendary Zico, is something he cherishes, “Everybody in Brazil considers Zico a legend. He has achieved so much success as a player — I know he will want the same success as a coach too. I am here to assist him and the team to achieve this goal,” says the Goa FC Skipper who is already shining amid the fanatical cheers of the state’s loyal supporters.

The May-born footballer who won one German cup and three Budesliga titles at his time in Bayern is straight forward and has a no-nonsense attitude that shines through, “I had a long spell in Europe and what I learnt there will always remain with me all my life — all the success and memories I had with clubs like Juventus, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich,” but it’s the “Special One” he will always be thankful to have worked with, “I learnt a lot from Jose Mourinho (Present Chelsea Manager) who I believe was the best coach I worked under. He would work with the psychology and mentality of all the players and that benefited my career. We gained immediate success under him, and I grew as a footballer because of that,” he adds.

The father of three is a typical Brazilian, in the fact that family and God are both a large non-negotiable part of his life. “My wife (Dione) and my children are already used to it (my star status).  Soon we are planning to bring the children to visit India so I can be closer to them. The most important thing is that they know and understand that football provides so many things in our lives. For me, God comes first, then family and my job,” says Lucio reiterating the sporting trinity of any Brazilian footballer, adding in candour, “I come from a divorced family and had very little resources to become a professional footballer.

I never had the luxury of going to football schools or coming through grassroots programmes and developments that were essential for a player to grow. I went directly from amateur to professional and I know that only God gave me these gifts and blessings to play at a professional level.” And religion is something that greats in Brazilian football like Kaka, Neymar, etc sport proudly. For Lucio too, the friends from Brazil, and the footballing fraternity are very close, “I have good friends like Kaka, Juan who I speak to regularly. In Europe, I gained a lot of experience from Jose Mourinho who taught me so much from my time under him at Inter Milan, and even Dunga who I was with in the Brazilian team. I try to keep a good bond and friendship wherever I go to play —  club or country,” he adds.

In Goa, Lucio finds kindred footie spirits, and an easy way of life, “I have occasionally tasted spicy food with chillies. I went to the local markets and spoke to a few locals, I can see how passionate they are towards FC Goa. They are also my fans. All this love and hospitality makes me feel very comfortable, happy and at home,” smiles the boy from Planaltina.

Lucio mulls over the sad state of Brazilian football today, “I think what has changed in Brazilian football and shouldn’t have is the discipline and focus of players. Nowadays, players are more concerned about marketing rather than improving their football. And individualism rather than team spirit is seen. Players should help one another develop and become better in training and play.

The perfect example is the German national team who are the best — all teams need to be like them — focused and dedicated to their goals. Things have changed in Brazil in recent times, for players aspiring to be professional footballers, they should know that not always does the best player play or feature in clubs as there is a lot of politics regarding agents, scouts and officials in Brazilian football. I strongly believe that this is the reason for the decrease in performance as well as the level of Brazilian football and the national team’s performance too,” says a noticeable sad Lucio. For the time being though, as Lucio tackles, crosses and defends with such superb reflexes and passion for Goa FC and the whole Fatorda Stadium chants his name, he could just as well be in Brazil!

“I think I have a lot of dedication and discipline. Even when I was an amateur footballer, I always had the desire to win every game I was playing. I feel that’s my best quality — the desire to win. And I do not like to speak about my qualities because it’s a little weird to talk about one’s own self and one’s qualities,” he says sheepishly. And it’s onto the the next ISL match, where we are sure he will let his footballing do most of the talking.

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