After 10 years of faithful service, Lucas Leiva has left Liverpool and joined the Italian side Lazio, both clubs have confirmed. With the medical reportedly done on Monday after Liverpool accepted Lazio’s offer of £5 million, the transfer is now completed.
Lucas was the only remaining Liverpool player signed by Rafa Benitez during his tenure, and now the story of that era has come to an end. Over the decade spent on Merseyside, the Brazilian made 344 appearances and scored seven goals for the Reds.
Lucas Leiva Completes Lazio Switch
Not many now remember it, but Lucas started his career as an attacking midfielder, though he was quickly converted and fitted for a box-to-box role while still playing for Gremio in Brazil. Benitez however found a new place in the team for him again – this time as a defensive midfielder, and he played most of his Liverpool games in that position.
Jurgen Klopp, upon his arrival at the club, discovered yet another use for him, as he aimed to build a team that would start attacks from the back, and a midfielder’s passing ability coupled with an injury-hit centre-back department prompted the German to move Lucas further back. This versatility of his has shaped Lucas into a very useful squad player.
Apart from the constant change in his role on the pitch, one of the most notable things about his Liverpool career is the division among the fans and pundits alike, regarding his quality. He was constantly under scrutiny and every mistake of his was pointed out with frustrating relish. But now they have all been united in wishing Lucas luck for the rest of his career, and they agree that his likable personality will be missed at Anfield.
For his part, Lucas penned an emotional farewell letter to the club supporters. Lucas has found himself a favourite amongst Liverpool supporters during his service at Liverpool, something which he clearly values as much as the fans do. As he had this to say when asked to reflect on his time at Anfield: “I might not have won as many trophies as I would have liked but to have people talk about me in that way means as much as any medal”.
The embodiment of what it means to be a Liverpool player (as shown by the video below), Lucas thoroughly deserves the send off he is receiving from the Anfield faithful.
With Lucas leaving LFC, we've tracked down the speech Brendan Rodgers gave about him after a year injured on the sidelines ❤️
🎥 Fox Sports pic.twitter.com/C7NYxqq3bp
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) July 18, 2017
Whatever anyone may think of him, one thing is certain: in all his time at Anfield, Lucas never really earned a guaranteed starting spot for himself, and now perhaps the time is right for him to finally move on in search of a club where he will get more minutes. Being 30 years old, time is not on his side.
Lazio have lost midfielder Lucas Biglia to A.C. Milan, and the Brazilian arriving from Liverpool is set to be tasked with filling the void left by the loss of their captain. Whether he will succeed in that or not remains to be seen, but there is no disputing the fact that the sky-blues of Rome are getting an extremely useful player.