LUCAS LEIVA SAYS LAZIO WAS HIS CHOICE
Former Liverpool defender Lucas Leiva, who moved to the Serie A this summer, says he specifically chose Lazio despite the flurry of interests.
There were reports linking him away from the club where he spent the last decade of his life and career as he struggled to remain world class in his role. The compassionate and very loved Brazilian reportedly decided to quit Anfield, even when he could have remained until next year.
“I chose to come to Lazio above many other offers. I have the chance to play in Europe here and many players spoke highly of the environment. After many years in England, I chose to come to Italy and will do all I can to impress,” the player said ahead of the Serie A season with the club.
Leiva said he was welcomed warmly by the squad and club. He adds that he has found a group that is “very supportive and helpful.” He hopes to replicate as much success as he had in England but revealed that his challenge is to “get good results.” He wants to play good football in Italy and “know a new culture too.”
Lazio paid the Reds £5 million for the versatile 30-year old player – the same fee Liverpool paid to Gremio where he was signed from in the summer of 2007. In the final game of the season, the club presented him with a commemorative trophy by Kenny Dalgrish to mark his long term service to the club and city. He has since labelled Dalgrish “a father.” He said Rafa Benitez taught him tactics and Jurgen Klopp was intense and demanding, in a good way.
With new coach Simone Inzaghi, Levia says he encourages players and helps them improve. Ahead of their Italian Super Cup clash with Juventus, Leiva asks the team to believe in themselves and trust their capabilities.