- Lucio won the FIFA World Cup™ in 2002 with Brazil
- The defender signed for Indian Super League side FC Goa in 2015
- He captained A Seleção to FIFA Confederations Cup victory in 2009
Lucio knows what makes a winner. The legendary Brazilian defender collected a haul of trophies during his career - most notably the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ - and is certainly well-placed to discuss how best to craft a champion. The former Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Juventus defender has spent the last two years in the Indian Super League with FC Goa and is eagerly anticipating the forthcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup on the subcontinent, where some champions of the future will take their first steps on the global international stage.
“I think [hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup] is a great opportunity for a country like India to make a mark on the global footballing scene,” Lucio told FIFA.com in an exclusive interview. “With some of the world’s best young talent set to land on these shores, it’s only bound to help the development of the sport within the country. India could be getting a first-hand look at some of the biggest footballing names in the years to come.”
— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) December 28, 2016
His native Brazil went unbeaten on their way to securing the title at the recently-concluded South American U-17 Football Championship, winning seven while scoring 24 and conceding just three in their nine games in Chile. They will be a force to be reckoned with by the time India 2017 kicks off in October.
“Brazil have a good team and will always been a tough match for any opposition,” Lucio said. “But there will also most certainly be several other teams who are bound to have some very talented squads. As a proud Brazilian though, I’ll certainly be hoping that they have a long run in the tournament.”
The man who won two FIFA Confederations Cups, a FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Champions League – as well as that World Cup win in Korea/Japan – gave some insight into what makes A Seleção so special, whatever the age category.
“Football is something that plays a very big part in Brazilian culture,” Lucio said. “Throughout the years, we’ve had a great numbers of players represent the team who’ve become global icons and they certainly do act as great motivation for the younger players.”
It is not just motivation that is required for young players to develop into champions though. What advice can the serial winner offer to hosts India, and other nations hoping to grow their footballing culture?
“It’s important to start developing footballers from a grassroots level and provide them with good facilities to train,” Lucio revealed. “Coaching education is important as well. The kids need to have the right guidance in their steps to becoming a professional footballer.”
The ‘kids’ who will take to the field in India later this year will already have a head-start on others in their generation, according to the man who turned out for his national team at three editions of the senior World Cup.
“Experience is all important,” Lucio said. “To be able to play in a global tournament, against some of the best players in the world of the same age group is a very unique experience. The added pressure of having to perform while wearing the national jersey can add great value to a player’s experience and will stand them in good stead for the future.”
The U-17 World Cup is all about creating and crafting future champions, and the distinctive yellow jersey of the Brazilian national team will weigh heavily on all who wear in India later this year – with the three-time winners always among the pre-tournament favourites. Whoever ends up wearing the No3 will likely have former occupant Lucio as a keen spectator, in the hope that a future champion can begin their A Seleção World Cup career with a trophy.
Lucio, the serial winner: Facts and figures
per cent win percentage in FIFA tournaments and World Cup qualifiers (68 games, 42 victories)
FIFA trophies: the 2002 World Cup, 2005 and 2009 Confederations Cups and the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup
goal in FIFA tournaments, an 84th-minute winner against USA in the 2009 Confederations Cup final