half a year after i was born, he opened his eyes and cried. born in brasilia, still only completing its 18 years, this fine human being has been in my life for 10 years now. when i first moved down to rio grande do sul, south brazil, this then 21 year old young guy had been in porto alegre since he was 17. he came to my attention when a change was announced – a change in life for him. he was about to get a better job, better paid, more competitive, and it would bring him forward in the pursuit of a good career. lucio decided to leave his club, internacional, to continue to play football professionally in germany. lucio went to bayer leverkusen, the most brazilian club in the german bundesliga. he went to learn, but even at young age, he was a natural leader. and he was a special player.
lucio: “it was here [at an evangelical church in brasilia] that I realized my need of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and committed my life to following him. being a christian has helped my football career and given me more discipline and success.
becoming a christian brought about a total change in my life. before i knew Jesus i did not have a disciplined life. i had low self-esteem. i did not have confidence in the things that i did day by day. today i don’t only want to walk with the Lord, but also, be more disciplined and persevere towards my objectives.
when things don’t work out, i don’t understand it but after it is over, i regard it as a work of the Lord in my life guarding me, protecting me and keeping me for the big future blessings. anyone who thinks that he has everything and doesn’t have Jesus has nothing. the one who has Jesus has happiness and peace. with Jesus in your heart you need have no fear. that is the person who has everything in life. i think that is most important.”
lucio is quite a good example of the influence that Christ can have in one’s life. he is one of the rare footballers who actually practice their faith on the field. and his success, which he gladly passes on, has proved him right. it is the success of someone who lets himself be humbly guided by the Superior Being. and what a success!
at age 24, at the end of two full seasons with bayer leverkusen, lucio reached a high point of his life. playing with the likes of ballack, zé roberto, and neuville, lucio reached the final of the champions league with his team, after scoring a spectacular goal against manchester united in the semifinal. although his team lost to real madrid in the final (their last european title with a memorable goal by zinedine zidane), lucio scored in that final. that summer, he went on to be one of only three brazilian players to be on the field every single minute for the world cup title in south korea / japan 2002. he then moved on to bayern münchen, my favorite team, and has played a vital role. he is now captain of the brazilian national team, vice-captain of the bayern munich team, and when he isn’t on the field, something is missing. not only his great abilities as a defender (almost no fouls in his games, great tackling), but he is strong offensively and he is the heart of the team, always pushing the team forward through words and deeds. last week, at the shameful 0x4 defeat at nou camp, against the local team fc barcelona, lucio missed the game due to injury. yesterday evening, though, he had a great game, and helped bayern to a respect worthy 1x1 draw against the currently best team in the world.
i’ll let lucio close with his favorite bible text and his personal comment:
“there is a passage in psalm 1 that says: "blessed is the man who refuses evil advice and will not follow sinners or join in sneering at God. he is like a tree growing beside a stream which produces fruit in season." i think this verse reflects my life because everything happened at the right moment. i also had that discernment of the Lord and His guidance in keeping me from sneering at God. i think that it is important in the life of the professional football player to know that there is only one road that is secure. that road is Jesus.“
lucio, you are appreciated.