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Lucas Leiva

Number 21




Dourados, Brazil










5 million

Former Clubs




Pen Pic

Lucas Leiva is a holding midfielder for both Liverpool and Brazil.

The South American's arrival from Gremio in 2007 was seen as quite a coup, with a host of European clubs apparently circling.

Having broken onto the scene in October 2005, Lucas soon became the youngest player ever to win the Bola de Ouro. The honour is given to the best player in the Campeonato Brasileiro and has previously been won by Zico, Romario, Kaka and Carlos Tevez.

The youngster, nephew of former Brazilian footballer Leivinha, captained his country's U20s to the South American Youth Championship title in 2007, scoring four goals in the process.

No wonder senior coach Dunga was starting to take note. He actually selected the midfield battler against Al-Kuwait in October 2006, but the game was not an official FIFA tie and so did not count as his international debut. That came a month into his Liverpool career in August 2007 when he came on as a substitute in a friendly with Algeria.

Lucas, who also holds an Italian passport, made his Reds bow as a second-half sub in a Champions League qualifier against Toulouse on August 28, 2007.

The Brazilian notched up more than 30 appearances in his debut season, breaking his Anfield duck in style with a 25-yard curler in the FA Cup against Havant and Waterlooville.

Lucas was absent for the start of 2008-09 after travelling to the Olympics in Beijing, where he claimed bronze after a semi-final defeat to Javier Mascherano's Argentina.

The No.21 tallied a further 39 appearances during his second season at Anfield despite stiff competition from established stars Mascherano and Xabi Alonso. The highlight came when he stood in for the latter as Liverpool thrashed title rivals Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford in March 2009.

Alonso's departure to Real Madrid meant Lucas was now an integral part of the team - and he seemed to relish his new found responsibility. The Brazilian was voted our Young Player of the Season for 2009-10, proof of how far he'd come in the eyes of Kopites.

The following season, with Kenny Dalglish now at the helm, the likeable anchorman signed a new long-term contract before going one better than the previous year by winning the fans' Player of the Season.

Now one of the first names on the teamsheet for Brazil, he featured in the Copa America 2011 - but it ended miserably for the Liverpool man when he earned a red card during a quarter-final defeat to Paraguay.

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