World Cup winner, defensive leader, motivator – Simply Lúcio!

Read article contents
Increase size

World Cup winner, defensive leader, motivator – Lúcio was at FC Bayern for five years from 2004 to 2009, winning a total of eight titles. The 2002 World Cup winner celebrates his 42nd birthday on Friday. wishes him a very happy birthday and looks back at his career in Munich.

Lucimar da Silva Ferreira – a name that suggests great football skill and lots of goals. However, Lúcio, his nickname, did not become a world-class player as a fox in the box but instead as an uncompromising defender. Fast, athletic, strong in the air and on the deck with a marked desire to get forward, the central defender had an impressive career. The Brazil international was at FC Bayern for five years from 2004 to 2009.

Welcome to Munich: Lúcio joined FC Bayern in the summer of 2004 after three years at Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Brazil's top player in 2000

But one step at a time. At the age of 23, Lúcio moved from SC Internacional to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the summer of 2001. "He's a hitman, he can break through walls," said the then Leverkusen general manager Rainer Calmund in describing the powerhouse who won the Silver ball as the best player in Brazil the year before. The central defender signed for the German record champions in the summer of 2004 after three seasons at the Werkself (122 games, 21 goals).

Uncompromising enforcer: Lúcio developed into a world-class player as a central defender strong in the air and on the deck.

A World Cup winner for FC Bayern

"Lúcio will be a key player in our new team," declared chairman of the board Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, happy with the impressive new signing, who won the World Cup in Japan and South Korea in 2002, going the full distance in all seven matches. For the Brazil international, it was now all about winning "as many titles as possible” at club level. “I have always aimed at working for a big club. And Bayern are a big club."

Done and dusted! Lúcio celebrates winning his first German league title in May 2005 with his fellow South American teammates at FC Bayern.

Magath: "Exceptional in  every respect"

Straightaway, he won the Bundesliga and DFB Cup double in 2005 and a year later celebrated retaining the titles in both competitions. "Lúcio is a player who doesn't want to lose and can't lose," was coach Felix Magath’s view of his defender. "He has an unrestrained desire to get forward, a vehement urge to win games. I don't know a player like him. Lúcio is absolutely exceptional in every respect."

Unstoppable: Whenever Lúcio went on one of his runs, it took him straight through two opponents, as here against Spartak Moscow.

Giant attack-minded steps

Equally exceptional were Lucio's powerful runs whenever he felt that things weren't going right for the record champions. Then he grabbed the ball and strove through midfield in direction of the opposition box with giant attack-minded steps. Sometimes so impetuously that losing possession put his own team under maximum pressure. "All of us knew he had it in him to be unpredictable," Magath said about the defender's attacking forays.

Classic Lúcio – these attacking forays were his trademark. The Brazilian scored 12 goals in his 218 appearances for FC Bayern – also thanks to his legendary desire to attack.

Defender with the desire to attack

"I played up front in youth teams and now I'm at the back. From time to time I still think: I'd most like to be a striker," revealed Lucio. "It always makes me particularly happy when I score a goal." On the other hand, he also knew about his "responsibility in the team. I'm a defender and I can't always race up front. My main job is to prevent goals."

The general and his defensive leader: Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld gives Lúcio instructions in training.

Clear instruction from Ottmar Hitzfeld

Under the direction of Ottmar Hitzfeld, Lúcio, now the Brazil captain, paid more attention to defensive duties. "I know he has a big heart and he only wants to help the team when he goes up front. But scoring goals isn't his job. A defensive leader first has to settle the game and keep it tight at the back," was the clear instruction from the general.

Defensive bulwark: FC Bayern set a new Bundesliga record in 2007/08 by only conceding 21 goals.

Best defence in the history of the Bundesliga

And that paid off. Under Hitzfeld, FC Bayern set a new Bundesliga record in 2007/08 by only conceding 21 goals as they became champions of Germany with a ten-point lead over Werder Bremen. Winning the DFB Cup followed to bring Lucio his third double in four years with the Reds. After a difficult season in 2008/09 under coaches Jürgen Klinsmann and Jupp Heynckes, Lucio's time at Säbener Straße ended before the start of the following season.

The final game: Lúcio made his 218th appearance for FC Bayern in a 2-1 win against VfB Stuttgart on 23 May 2009.

Lúcio goal wins Confed Cup final

The then 31-year-old had just won the Confed Cup with Brazil for the second time since 2005. He scored the winner in the final against the USA. The day he returned to Munich, the new coach Louis van Gaal told the captain of the Selecao that he did not feature in his plans. Lúcio's time in Munich came to an end after 218 appearances, twelve goals and eight titles. "I've had a good time at Bayern. It's a pity it's ending now but that's football," he said back then.


Reunion in Madrid: In the Champions League final of 2010, Lúcio beat FC Bayern 2-0 with Inter Milan.

Wistful Lúcio wins the Champions League

Lúcio moved on to Serie A club Inter Milan and at the end of the season celebrated an emotional reunion with FC Bayern. Inter came out on top with a 2-0 victory in the Champions League final in Madrid to secure a treble. After the game, Lúcio received a standing ovation when he went up to the Munich fans with a red and white scarf on. "I was very happy, everything was really great. I think I would never have left FC Bayern," said a wistful Lúcio after the final.

Lúcio played for FC Bayern from 2004 to 2009 – here you can see the most legendary knockout games of the German record champions from 2001 to 2010.

Related news