The Brazilian legend have had his own foray in India, playing under Zico for FC Goa in the Indian Super League.
Captain. Leader. Will to win. Fighting spirit. Team player. There are a number of ways to describe Brazil’s legendary defensive rock Lucio. And many of his qualities serve as an example to the youngsters at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.
FIFA.com caught up with the FIFA World Cup™ winner ahead of Brazil‘s Round of 16 tie against Honduras to discuss the U-17 World Cup, football in India and the prospects of the young Brazilian side who have dazzled at the tournament so far.
At the end of your career, you played for FC Goa in India, where Brazil’s U-17’s are currently participating FIFA U-17 World Cup. Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu has said: “We feel at home here. The people are cheering for us and are really friendly.” How was your time in India?
It was great. The people are full of admiration for footballers, especially Brazilian ones. They know the game has a great history in our country and how successful we’ve been. It was a wonderful experience for me to feel their heartfelt kindness.
What stands out for you in particular?
Overall, my memories are very positive, especially in terms of the football, friendships and well-organised competitions. A particular highlight for me was the friendships I made with Indian players. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to visit their families at home. That was always really nice.
You played for big clubs in Brazil, Germany and Italy, which are all football-crazy nations. How does India differ to those countries?
Football still has some catching up to do in India. It still needs time and a lot of development work in order to continue to grow. The basics need to be worked on every day, so that the passion for the game can increase and be shared by the Indian people.
How can the FIFA U-17 World Cup help?
First and foremost, I think the tournament will provide them with experience. It will give football a stage to become bigger and better known.
Brazil have won all three of their games at the competition so far. Are you satisfied with your compatriots’ performances?
Everyone in Brazil is 100 percent satisfied. The team have picked up good results and have played well too. That makes the fans happy, but I think the coach and staff are happy as well.
What makes Brazil so strong?
A feature of all Brazilian teams is their togetherness, the friendships and the camaraderie. That’s our biggest strength and the distinctive characteristic of every Brazilian Seleção.
Do they have a chance of winning the title?
Yes. I think Brazil have a great chance of lifting the trophy. The team look very well prepared and there is no doubt that they have some outstanding new talents.
You know what it takes to win a FIFA tournament. What tips could you give the Brazilian youngsters?
My message to them would be to stay calm, keep focused and never lose sight of the main objective. The fact they qualified for the tournament and got through the group stage is no reason to get complacent. Every game is decisive from now on. That’s what makes a World Cup so appealing after all. But I think the team can do it. So boys: keep working hard with love, passion and commitment and always believe in your dreams.