Lu­cas Leiva’s Ro­man hol­i­day

The Brazil­ian has flour­ished since join­ing Lazio, but part of his heart will al­ways re­main with Liv­er­pool

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You were named player of the year in your first sea­son at Lazio, so how happy have you been at your new club? It’s been re­ally nice – I’ve set­tled down easily and quickly to Italy. I feel adapted to the foot­ball style of Lazio, and that’s im­por­tant when you’re start­ing a jour­ney with a new club. All of that made me play well in my first sea­son.

How frus­trat­ing was it to miss out on Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion on the sea­son’s fi­nal day? Very. We worked hard for it and I felt we de­served to qual­ify as a re­ward for a good sea­son. But that’s foot­ball. We made some mis­takes at the end and paid a huge price. It was a big blow, but we must keep our heads high in or­der to im­prove for the new cam­paign. It’s go­ing to be an ex­tremely im­por­tant sea­son for Lazio.

You’re not known for scor­ing many goals, but you got some im­por­tant ones in Europe last sea­son. Did you sur­prise your­self? That was some­thing spe­cial. Ev­ery­one knows that scor­ing goals isn’t ex­actly my first mis­sion, but at Lazio I have some free­dom to go for­ward and help the team in the tran­si­tion be­tween mid­field and at­tack. Find­ing the back of the net is a nice feel­ing, I can’t deny it!

You played along­side Sergej Milinkovic-savic in 2017-18. How good is he? He’s a very tal­ented player and puts a lot of ef­fort in on the pitch. With these two key at­tributes, he can suc­ceed in any Euro­pean league, and he def­i­nitely could do well in the Pre­mier League.

“EV­ERY­ONE KNOWS THAT SCOR­ING GOALS ISN’T EX­ACTLY MY FIRST MIS­SION, BUT AT LAZIO I HAVE FREE­DOM TO GO FOR­WARD”

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