Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva is targeting a spot at the World Cup after making his international comeback.
Lucas, 26, has put a two-year injury nightmare behind him by returning to action with Brendan Rodgers’s Reds this season. A recall by his country soon followed and he played a part in both Brazil victories in the Far East over South Korea and Zambia.
“The call up [from Brazil boss Phil Scolari] came out of the blue,” Lucas told the Guardian.
“It’s not that I had given up my dream to play in a World Cup at home for Brazil, but it was just that time was running out with every game I wasn’t picked for.”
Scolari checked with Rodgers, who worked under him on the coaching staff at Chelsea, to see whether Lucas was ready for selection once more.
Of his recall, Scolari added: “Lucas plays regularly in the Premiership and has been together with many of the players here.
“He is tactically sound and his protection of the back four is very important in the kind of football I like my teams playing.”
Media reports both at home and abroad were favourable to all of Brazil’s Premier League expats. Chelsea trio David Luiz, Oscar and Ramires were chief among them.
Lucas got the nod to start in the Bird’s Nest in Beijing against Zambia over Luiz Gustavo, his main rival for the defensive midfield spot. Displacing a Champions League winner with Bayern Munich is no mean feat. Scolari liked what he saw.
Now Lucas hopes to follow in the footsteps of his uncle Joao Leiva, a member of Brazil’s 1974 World Cup squad which reached the semi-finals.
“My grandma would be so proud,” added Lucas. “It’s not bad to have had a son and grandson playing in a World Cup.”