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Mircea Lucescu: Tour of Brazil will become part of Shakhtar history

Shakhtar’s head coach on the team’s upcoming trip to South America
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- Mister, the off-season in Brazil is something new in the history of Shakhtar. What do you expect from this trip?
- Today, Shakhtar are a team of high international level. The club is well known all over the world. And in Brazil, especially because our players perform for its national team! Shakhtar are one of the most popular European teams there. This tour will give the Brazilian football fans the first opportunity to see us live. And for the Pitmen a trip to the South American continent is about international image, the status of the club, new fans. In addition, our Brazilian players will be playing in front of their fans, which is also very important. A tour of Brazil will become part of the history of our club.

- Have you long been deciding on this trip?
- We have been looking for the opportunity to hold the off-season in Brazil for four years now! But it was impossible. Though, probably, it is even better that it has worked out right now. Since Shakhtar has reached such a level that already allows us to play on a par with the best clubs of Brazil. And, last but not least, their strongest teams also have an interest in games with us. Again, this is an important indicator in terms of the international image of Shakhtar.

- What’s your most vivid memory of the time when you first arrived in Brazil?
- I've always loved the Brazilian football. I was captain of Romania at the World Cup in Mexico. There, I exchanged shirts with Pele. However, then we lost 2:3. I was only 24 years old... I remember that before the next World Cup the national team of Romania were preparing in Brazil. So I played everywhere there: in Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Campinas. I know all these cities. I was very impressed. Their playing style, talent, technique, behaviour on the field, the atmosphere in the stadiums...

- Is European football very different from the Brazilian?
- Yes it is! Much more different! In Europe, football is more disciplined. It's all built on the physical preparation and tactics: the game is fast and intense, there is no time to think. And Brazilian football is calmer, not so aggressive, with every match being a real show. 

- It’s summer now in Brazil, and winter in Ukraine. Shakhtar will play their first match in 2015 in Lviv with Bayern. Can the change of climate affect the players?
- No. We are returning to Ukraine on January 27, and we will still have three weeks to acclimatize.

- Are you satisfied with the selection of teams that Shakhtar will face in Brazil?
- Yes I am. From the very start, when the issue of this trip was only raised, I set a condition: Shakhtar will either play with the best Brazilian teams or won’t go there!



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