“140 million francs are my first words learned in French”

To understand the failure of Severino Lucas at Stade Rennais, you must first understand the man, his social origins, his childhood, his knowledge and his state of mind at the idea of ​​​​joining Europe, the eldorado of football, at the dawn of the 21st century. Twenty-two years after his arrival in France, the 43-year-old Brazilian confided in Ouest-France and Prolongation for a long time.

In the first of the three parts of his testimony, he recounts his first dribbles in the streets of Ribeirão Preto, the reputation of a rising star who escorted him, very young, and led him to fly over the Atlantic, on July 25, 2000, aboard a private jet specially chartered by François Pinault, shareholder of the SRFC. He is 21 and set to become the most expensive signing in club history.

How would you describe your childhood in 1980s Brazil?

I adored her. I’m a kid who comes from a very simple background. I have never been very poor or very rich. My father was a handyman who alternated jobs as a mechanic, in the factory, in the sugar canes. My mother never worked and looked after my three siblings and me at home. My parents gave us everything a person needs: food, shelter. I spent my time in the street, playing with my neighbors, doing everything and nothing. Football quickly became a great passion. Then, he took a big place in my life. So I didn’t really have an adolescence. At 16, I was already playing pro in the Botafogo club.

So much so that your reputation goes beyond the borders of your city, touches your country and then Europe. How much does that change the mind of a young player?

Obviously, I was very happy. I was having great times. I was playing in Brazil’s youth team, I was considered the third best striker in the country behind Romario and Ronaldinho. I was full of confidence. But Europe remained an unknown land for me. We didn’t have internet back then. It was hard to find out. I didn’t know the clubs well. My name started circulating in some teams, like OM or Inter Milan, but I had no way of knowing what was really going on.

“Being compared to Ronaldo? I did not know how to absorb this pressure, or even manage it.

The ex-president of Inter Milan, Massimo Moratti, would have even called you « future Ronaldo ».

(He grimaces). This comparison bothered me more than helped. Ronaldo is one of the best players in football history. Associating his name with mine immediately made me feel enormous pressure. To draw such a parallel is to expect similar performances in people’s unconscious, and therefore to expose oneself to strong criticism. And I was obviously far from Ronaldo level. Who was? In any case, I didn’t know how to absorb this pressure in a positive way, or even manage it. The…

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