Fri, 24 Sep 2021

David Luiz holding on to Brazil 'ambition'

Xinhua
14 Sep 2021, 10:44 GMT+10

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Veteran defender David Luiz said Monday that he still harbors hopes of a return to international football after joining reigning Brazilian Serie A champions Flamengo on a free transfer.

The comments came as Luiz was officially presented to the media as a Flamengo player, less than a week after he agreed to a 16-month contract with the Rio de Janeiro outfit.

"I am focused on Flamengo. The decision was made with a view to facing all of Flamengo's challenges. We want to win titles [but] if a player does not have the ambition to defend his country, he is in the wrong profession. I have the ambition," Luiz told a virtual news conference.

Capped 57 times, Luiz has not played for Brazil since taking part in a 4-0 win over Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in June 2017.

The 34-year-old is the third high-profile player to join Flamengo in the mid-year transfer window, following the arrivals of Andreas Pereira and Kenedy on loan deals from Manchester United and Chelsea, respectively.

Luiz has been without a club since parting ways with Arsenal in June. He had also been linked with Italian sides Lazio and Salernitana.

He admitted that a viral social media campaign by Flamengo fans had been influential in his decision to join the club.

"It was a big factor. It was crazy to feel their support even though I still wasn't a Flamengo player," the former Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain center-back said. "It made me think a lot and helped me make my decision."

"I had several offers. Maybe I could have chosen a club offering [more money] but I like to do what I feel in my heart. I know I'm making the right decision," he added.

Flamengo, who have won the past two Brazilian top flight titles, are currently third in the top flight standings, eight points behind leaders Atletico Mineiro but with two games in hand.

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