Lucas Leiva put pen to paper on a new long-term deal with Liverpool on Wednesday afternoon – and we spoke to the Brazilian immediately after he’d inked his contract. Here's what he had to say in full...
Congratulations, Lucas - how does it feel to have signed a new long-term deal here at Liverpool Football Club?
It's another long-term contract that I have signed - but it was the same feeling as when I first came here. I am really delighted to have the opportunity to play for this club. It's where I think I belong and where I wanted to stay, so I am very happy and looking forward to a few more years here.
The contract commits you to spending the best years of your career here at Liverpool, so was it an easy decision?
It was an easy decision because after the long period of my career I have had here, I think I would like to give the best of my time to this club. It was not a difficult decision to make and I am really looking forward to what will hopefully be a few more years with a lot of success.
You've been here for a number of years now, so is Liverpool home to you?
It is. It is definitely home. My son was born here and I have a lot of relationships with people outside of the club. When I go back to Brazil I only go back for holidays because when I come back [to Liverpool], I come back to my house and where I live my life. Everything is looking great for me.
How do you look back at the six years you've already had here at Liverpool because there have been high points and low points for you...
In all the career of any player you have low points and good moments. Of course, it was a very difficult start but then everyone knows I worked really hard and changed the opinions. Another difficult moment for me was my injury and now I am getting back to where I was before. I knew this season was going to be a difficult one for me, especially after the thigh injury, but I am really looking forward to next season and I will be in my best shape again.
You mentioned the injuries you've suffered - two in quite a short space of time. How has that experience changed you?
Two serious injuries in that space of time didn't help me because I was really enjoying my football. But as you mentioned, it gave me a lot of experience and maybe made me work on other areas I was not working on before. I knew, especially after the second injury, it was going to be a difficult season for me. I had a full pre-season, but then I got the injury and couldn't do much. It was the plan to play a lot of games, get back to fitness again and, as I said, next season is going to be a different season for me for sure.
You've played under four managers now at Liverpool Football Club. How much are you enjoying working with Brendan Rodgers?
Brendan played a big part in my new deal. I spoke with him a few times before we agreed the new contract. He has been a very good manager for all of us and we're really looking forward to next season. We know how he works and how he wants us to play, and everyone is looking forward to having a better season.
How confident are you that you can achieve the success you want with Liverpool over the course of your new contract?
If I didn't believe, I don't think I would have signed a new deal. I think that's why we've seen a lot of players signing new deals - because we really believe this club will be back where it should be. The last two or three years have had some difficult moments for the club, but I think keeping these players and getting help from new players will be important for us - and we'll work really hard to do whatever we can to put Liverpool back fighting for titles and in games the fans are really looking forward to.
What is your ambition here? When you finish your football career, what do you want to be able to look back on and say you achieved?
When I retire, I would like to look back and see that my career at Liverpool has been a successful one. That means winning - and I still believe we can win important things here. Maybe it hasn't been as quick as I or everybody would have wanted, but I am sure in a few years' time we will be celebrating some important titles.
Finally, what would your message be to the Liverpool fans? What has their support meant to you over these past few years?
The supporters play a big part on new deals. They don't negotiate, but they show every week the passion and how much they support us. So for me it is a case of saying thanks to all of them and I will just keep doing what I think is the best for myself and the club, and try to take the club to the next step. That's what we want.