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Qualifiers and Confed Cup

Lucio’s arduous season goes into extra-time

The majority of his team-mates have packed away their boots for the summer, but some two weeks after the end of the German season, Lucio is still involved in top-level action, in places as exotic as Uruguay, Brazil and South Africa. The FCB defender and Brazil skipper faces two 2010 World Cup qualifiers, followed by the Confederations Cup in South Africa from 14-28 June.

“The tournament’s hardly well-timed, at the end of a long season and after we’ve played two tough World Cup qualifiers. I think tiredness will be a major factor,“ said the player, who made 44 appearances last term, the most of any FCB star.

Always fired up

“It would obviously be easier if we had a longer break and more of a chance to prepare. But that’s how it’s been organised, and we can’t change it now,” the Brazilian said on the eve of the World Cup warm-up tournament in South Africa, which also features world champions Italy, the host nation, and the other five reigning continental champions.

Back in 1999, Germany sent a team largely made up of squad players to the Confed Cup, but Lucio has a higher opinion of the dress rehearsal for the 2010 finals, reflecting a deep sense of honour at the prospect of pulling on a national team jersey. “We know it’s demanding, but we’re always fired up when representing our country,“ the 31-year-old commented.

Playing to win

Indeed, the five-time World Cup winners always take the Confederations Cup extremely seriously, as was the case in 2005, when an in-form Brazil lifted the trophy in Germany with some exhilarating football. Moreover, the South Americans have no intention of giving up the title lightly.