10 years ago, when then Manager of Liverpool Football Club, Rafael Benitez introduced a young, blonde, long haired Brazilian as his latest signing, many were upbeat at this prospect. At the time, the Brazilian National team were the talk of world football, the passion, the flair and the pure entertainment value from the Brazilians were something to be admired. So as you can imagine, with Liverpool signing a midfielder from the South America, many were anticipating sort of the same from this lad. Little did we know what he was truly brought in for and the special place he filled in our hearts as supporters.
Lucas first few seasons at Liverpool were not the greatest, he was stubborn, young and lacked knowledge of the English game which saw him struggle a lot, this made many of the supporters growing impatient of the Brazilian, I was one of them. When I saw Lucas name on the starting 11, I would wonder what in the hell was Benitez thinking starting this guy. I was adamant he wouldn't last more than 3 seasons with us. Credit to Lucas though, despite the moans and groans, he kept at it, giving his all, whether it be in training or on the pitch. Soon enough this lad who couldn't speak a word of English was starting a family in Merseyside and speaking the tongue of the locals, Lucas was evolving into a true Scouse legend.
He kept his profile low, got the job that was handed out to him down, soon did we realise, this little Brazilian wasn't brought in to do tricks and flicks, he was another breed of footballer, one which doesn't get much praise or limelight but one which ensured the team could be expansive knowing he kept a tight seal at the back. This was proved by not just Rafa who brought him in but for the managers that succeeded him at the helm. All of them had high praise for the hard work that Lucas put in for the team. Injuries did plague him during his 10 years at Anfield but even that didn't deter him from getting back into the first team as that famous speech Brendan Rodgers gave the team before Lucas started a game after being one year out injured. He kept the fight to recover faster than expected, he pushed himself in training to get back into that first team and to put on that red shit that meant as much to him, as it did to us.
The #LFC squad say their goodbyes to @LucasLeiva87 from Hong Kong.#ThanksLucas pic.twitter.com/9mQ20ip21t— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 18, 2017
If one has to look at highlights of his career, there weren't many goals, nor did the goals he score be any spectacular ones but the biggest highlight was his fight and tenacity. It's this key aspect that held him in such high regards with his team mates and managers. With him departing Liverpool after 10 years, it really is a sad day for the club but with competition in the league at it's highest level in a long time, Lucas knows there isnt much he can do now due to age and limitations to help. When players leave with a good conscious for the club, you know they're putting the club before themselves and it's with this, Lucas just earned himself one of the highest respects as a Liverpool Football player. A player who many regard as an honorary Scouser, a true lad and a servant of the game.
You'll Never Walk Alone, Lucas #ThankYouLucas
WHEN I first joined Liverpool ten years ago, I had three main ambitions. First, I wanted to win a place in the team, which I managed to do. Next, I hoped to prove myself worthy of the shirt, an aim that others will be better placed than me to decide whether or not it was achieved. Finally, I looked ahead to the future with a hope that if and when the time came to leave this wonderful club I would do so on the best possible terms. That time has now come as I prepare for a new career at Lazio and while I am saddened that my days at Anfield are coming to an end, I can at least take comfort from the knowledge that my relationship with Liverpool and the supporters is stronger than ever. This is one of the greatest clubs in the world and my intention had always been to spend the rest of my career here but the less I have been able to play, the more I have realised that I need to go to another club if I want to play as much as I possibly can. When you love a club and a city as much as I love Liverpool that isn't an easy decision to come to. The easiest thing for me to do would be to stay here for as long as I can even if I do not expect to play so often but that would go against everything that I believe in as a footballer and as a competitor. It is for that reason that I will be joining Lazio, which means my sadness at leaving Liverpool is accompanied by a real excitement that I will be representing one of Italy's great clubs. Before I made my decision to take the opportunity to go to Italy, I discussed my situation with Jurgen Klopp and the way he handled it showed once again how respectful he is to his players. I am grateful to him and to all of the managers I worked under at Liverpool, especially the ones who showed faith in me when it would have been easy to do the opposite. My priority now is to look ahead to a new chapter in my career in the belief that I can contribute to Lazio in the same way that I hope I have helped Liverpool....