Even though Santos start the
Brazilian championship as favourites, teenager Lucas is
confident that his Sao Paulo side can win the title this year.
"I am very ambitious, I want to win my first title for Sao
Paulo and I am confident that we can do it this year," the
diminutive Lucas said in an interview ahead of the start of the
championship this weekend.
"We have a good, united squad of players and that's
important. We are a big team, a team with tradition and history
and that all together could take us to the title.
"Santos are without doubt the best team in Brazil," added
the 19-year-old midfielder of the side who recently added the
Paulista state championship to the Libertadores Cup they won
last year and, in Neymar, have the best player in the world
"They've played together a long time, they are well
prepared, they have a great manager and so I think they are the
"Fluminense also have a good side this year. They've done
well in Rio and have all the pieces in place to challenge. I'd
point to Internacional as well.
"I think when you get to the final stretch there are six or
seven teams in with a chance of winning the title," Lucas added.
"Brazilian football is unpredictable and you never know who
is going to win. That makes it more exciting and it's good for
Eight teams have taken the title since 2000, with four
different champions lifting the trophy in the last four years.
The unpredictability is partly because few teams have the
infrastructure or management stability to prevail over a long
period and also because teams can lose players halfway through
the season in Europe's summer transfer window.
Sao Paulo dominated Brazilian football until recently,
winning three consecutive league titles, one Paulista state
championship, one Libertadores Cup and one Club World Cup
between 2005 and 2009.
They have struggled to maintain those high standards,
particularly since losing coach Muricy Ramalho three years ago.
Six men have taken charge of the team since he left.
This year, they should have former Sevilla and Brazil
striker Luis Fabiano back at full strength and will rely on him
to score goals.
They also hope to see talismanic goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni
back from injury and will be expecting more from recent signing
If they are to have any chance of winning the title they
will need Lucas to take more responsibility, particularly in big
The midfielder, whose only first-class medals have come with
Brazil's under-20 team, frequently shows flashes of brilliance
but has struggled to reproduce that form week in, week out over
the course of a season.
Lucas reckons that might be down to uncertainty over his
role in the team. He has been utilised in different areas by
different coaches but was clear in his own mind about where his
"I think that players like me, quick, dribblers, the closer
they are to the goal, the better it is," he said.
"Many times we know that in modern football we need to help
out in midfield and marking so I try to do a bit of everything
but my strength is close to the penalty box, where I can pick up
the ball and go for goal."
Lucas is also establishing himself as a regular for the
national team in what promises to be a busy year for Mano
Menezes last week named Lucas in the squad to play
friendlies against Denmark, the United States, Mexico and
Argentina and he is considered a certainty to be part of the
Olympic side in London in July and August when Brazil go for the
one title they have never won.
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