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Exclusive interview

Breno: I’m happy to wait for my chance

Centre-half Breno is back in action. After eight months out with cruciate ligament damage, the 21-year-old Brazilian made his first-team comeback at home to Nürnberg two weeks ago. He played 45 minutes against FCB’s Bavarian neighbours, and completed 90 minutes the following week in Leverkusen. spoke to Breno about his time out injured, his aims for this season, and his greatest dream.

Interview: Breno After eight months on the sidelines, you returned to match action against Nürnberg. What was your reaction when you replaced the injured Martin Demichelis at half-time?
I thought of my wife and my son, who helped me so much. And I thanked God that I was playing football again at last.

Tell us about the last few months in your career.
It's been the most difficult period of my life. It was my first serious injury, but I never thought I’d really be out for eight months. The longer I couldn’t play, the more difficult it was, which is why I’m so grateful for the support I received from the club. Everyone’s helped me recover fitness.

Who helped you the most?
It was definitely my wife. She always told me to be courageous, she was supportive and motivated me. She kept telling me to look to the future and not let my head go down. Obviously, there were times when I just didn’t want to talk to anyone. But Renata was always there for me – as were my parents and my little boy Pietro, who always makes me smile.

Has it given you a different perspective on life as a pro footballer?
Yes. I’d never thought much about injury before. But I’ve learned to appreciate the things I like even more – and in my case, that means football. Playin gisn’t just something I like, or even just my job, it’s my life.

Did you manage to stay in touch with life in the team? Who’s emerged as a good friend, especially with you being a younger player?
Everyone asked me how it was going, although you obviously have little to do with the team unit when you’re injured. I spent a lot of time with physiotherapist Gerry Hoffmann, and then fitness trainer Thomas Wilhelmi. But I get along well with everyone in the team, and if there’s something I don’t understand, I just ask. I normally turn to our Brazilian fitness coach Marcello Martins or Diego Contento, who explains things in Italian.

Louis van Gaal thinks a lot of you, and indicated last summer you feature strongly in his plans. How will you repay his faith?
I’m delighted the coach is looking to build on me, but I have to prove I can help the team. I want to do the best job I can on the field.

Despite the injury, how important was your spell on loan to Nürnberg?
It ended up being only three months, but it was the most important period in my career. I had a decent run in the team at last, a chance to show how I play and what I can do.