Luiz Gustavo: Shining in the Mediterranean sun

Ligue 1 Conforama > ligue1show

Since leaving VfL Wolfsburg for Olympique de Marseille in the summer, Luiz Gustavo has been one of the star performers for Rudi Garcia's men.

The €10 million fee paid by OM is proving to be a bargain as the Brazilian revels in his Mediterranean adventure after a decade spent in the German Bundesliga.

"After spending such a long time in Germany it was a good opportunity. It wasn't easy to leave because I have great memories of playing there, but I arrived at a point in my career when I needed a change, to take up a new challenge," the 30-year-old midfielder told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN Sports.

"I think the main difference between here and Germany is that the football there is played at a higher tempo, more dynamic, and there are fewer challenges. Here, individual talent stands out, you have a little more time on the ball but it's also much tougher here in a one-on-one situation."

Just like being in Brazil

With so many Brazilian colleagues playing in Ligue 1 Conforama, the midfield general has long kept an interest in French football, a factor that made moving here an easy decision.

"I always kept an eye on Ligue 1 because I have friends here - Dante, Thiago Silva and others. I spoke with a lot of people, but obviously the decision to come here had to be 100 percent my own. I always knew that Marseille was a big club with a great fanbase, but there's also the sun, something I’d missed in my day-to-day life, the sea too! It’s great here, I'm very happy!

Among the goals: Luiz Gustavo scores against PSG

"With every passing day things are getting better here. Of course for me, family is really important, and they are feeling more and more at home here in Marseille, as am I. We joke that being here is just like being in Brazil, which can only be good!"

From Japan to Greece via Cameroon and Tunisia, the Marseille dressing room is a melting pot of different cultures and languages, one Luiz Gustavo has had no problem integrating.

"I've made a good friend in Florian Thauvin. He speaks a bit of Spanish and we laugh a lot together but it's normal that I mainly speak with Dória, Rolando and Lucas Ocampos because we speak the same language. I try to communicate with everyone though, that way I can learn a bit of French."


A Champions League winner with Bayern Munich - he was a substitute in their 2013 final win over Borussia Dortmund - Luiz Gustavo had already played at the Orange Vélodrome with the German giants. And knowing what to expect from the crowd there, the Brazilian has not been disappointed.

"The passion I feel here is exactly what I was hoping for. The fans live and breathe for their club. You can immediately feel it when they are annoyed. The criticism is unavoidable and we have to answer on the pitch. In a way, they give us extra strength. When they sing all together for us, it’s incredible."

Scoring against SM Caen in Week 12

He would have felt that passion more than ever when he opened the scoring in the Classique against Paris Saint-Germain last month, a game in which Marseille proved they can compete at the highest level once again.

"In a derby it's normal to give absolutely everything. It was an important evening for the team, and we played a very, very good game. It has given us great confidence going into the rest of the season. We know what we are capable of now," he said.

Hardly a renowned goal-scorer, he has already found the net three times in 10 Ligue 1 Conforama appearances, proof that he is enjoying his football in France. So would he consider seeing out his playing days on the Mediterranean coast?

"Anything is possible, the sun shines here so all is well," is his reply.

>> PLAYER PROFILE: Luiz Gustavo

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