Brazil’s Lucas Moura (centre), the latest recruit for French club Paris Saint Germain (PSG), arrives with club President Nasser Al Khelaifi and Sporting Director Leonardo (left) at the Museum of Islamic Art Conference Centre in Doha, yesterday. CENTRE: Lucas (centre), Al Khelaifi (right) and Leonardo arrive to attend a press conference. RIGHT: Lucas gives a thumbs up before the press conference.
BY DENZIL PINTO
DOHA: Paris Saint Germain’s (PSG) latest recruit Lucas Moura has revealed that the club’s Sporting Director Leonardo influenced his decision to move to the French club.
At a press conference at the Museum of Islamic Art, where Lucas was officially unveiled, the Brazilian said: “This is a big challenge for me. PSG are in full evolution. Leonardo helped me a lot to take this decision to sign when I could have continued with my former team (Sao Paulo) until the season ends.”
“There were so many possibilities for me but Leonardo was decisive,” said the Brazilian, who has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the French giants.
The Brazilian’s opinion was echoed by PSG President Nasser Al Khelaifi. “I want to thank Leonardo who has done a very good job by signing this player (Lucas),” said Al Khelaifi.
“Without him we would never had signed Lucas. I also want to thank the club’s management because it really was not easy to obtain the signature of Lucas,” added Al Khelaifi, whose club beat Manchester United and Real Madrid to the signature of the Brazilian.
“I am very happy to have him (Lucas) with us. Lucas is one of the best young players in the world,” he added.
With the transfer costing reportedly €45m, the 20-year-old is unfazed by the pressure of his huge price tag and is pleased that PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti is counting on him.
“I’m glad to know that the coach is counting on me. Football is my life and I will do everything to achieve our goal and please the supporters,” said the Brazilian in front of many journalists yesterday.
“I’m trying to evolve my best with my new club after having given everything with Sao Paulo,” said the Brazilian who has scored three goals in 22 appearances for the national team.
When asked on what goals he has set himself following his move to PSG, he replied: “I want to win titles with the club. I want to become one of the best players in the world with my club as well with the national team. The most important thing is that PSG wins.”
“All Brazilian players have this dream of being the best in the world and this is also mine. I’m playing against great clubs and great players. I will fight to achieve this goal, said Lucas, who joined his team-mates having arrived in Doha on Sunday.
The attacking midfielder also said he will give his best when playing in PSG colours on the field.
“I’m not afraid of anyone and I always give the best of myself to defend the shirt I’m wearing,” said the Brazilian who was told to learn French quickly by former PSG player and idol Ronadinho.
The attacking midfielder who could make his debut in today’s friendly match against Qatari champions Lekhwiya cites fellow Brazilian Ronaldo and French legend Zinedine Zidane as his idols.
Having made his internatioanal debut against Scotland in March 2011, he had to wait six months later to register his first goal for Brazil against arch rivals Argentina in September.
Lucas was also part of the Olympic team at the London 2012 Games, where they finished runners-up.
Al Khelaifi said the club were not planning to make more signings during this transfer window, but added that ‘anything could happen’.
“We’ve got a great team with some great players. I don’t think we need to recruit,” he said.
“We’ve got a month ahead of us. For the moment, we’re not planning on recruiting anyone but I don’t know, there could be injuries, anything can happen,” Al Khelaifi added.
With the French club spending huge amounts of money on transfers since Qatar Authority Investment bought PSG, including $18m on Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, for a fee reportedly €37m, both from AC Milan, the French government has criticised PSG’s spending, most notably on Ibrahimovic’s signature.
However, Al Khelaifi said that the club had to spend money to achieve their objectives and goals.
“PSG built a club that will be among the best in Europe and in the world. We have to spend money to create this club. If we did not, we would not have been at this level where we are at today. We would not be part of the best clubs in Europe,” he said.
“There are many accusations and jealousy but it’s normal. We hope we will satisfy the fans and European authorities.”
The 39-year-old also said that the club’s recruitment policy is not based on nationality.
“Many players are very good in that area of the world (Latin America). Brazil has some of the best players in the world. But it is not based on nationality to recruit,” he said.