Lyon midfielder Lucas Paqueta has given an honest reflection of his time at AC Milan, which ended during the last summer transfer window.
Paqueta joined the Rossoneri during the January 2019 window and his arrival brought great optimism, but it would be fair to say that his performances were nowhere near up to the level of those expected and his time in Italy was cut short having only one goal and two assists in 37 Serie A appearances.
The Rossoneri cashed in on Paqueta during the last summer window in a move which saw him join Lyon. Since arriving in France the Brazilian seems to be a lot more settled, the deal looks to have worked well for all parties involved.
Paqueta gave a long interview to L’Equipe, in which he also revealed some anecdotes about his experience in the Rossoneri, with his comments transcribed by Calciomercato.com.
“If I score so many goals here because of the pressure of Rudi Garcia? Not even in general. You know, in Milan I had put a lot of pressure on myself. Too much too. So, arriving here in Lyon, I said to myself that I shouldn’t have any. That I would simply give my best. And if I scored. they arrive, so much the better. To date they are, okay,” he said.
“I knew my responsibility, I knew why I was there. Then things don’t always go as they should. You imagine things, you put pressure on yourself… It’s inexplicable, sometimes it’s not there. It is not even a reason for failure.
“Even if my experience in Milan was not extraordinary, less than what was expected, it helped me a lot. Because now I am a better player. I am a different Paquetà, a Paquetà, more strong, a Paqeutà that has rediscovered the essence of what it was at Flamengo. The pressure is still there and will always be there, but it no longer comes from myself.”
“Would I have come to Lyon without Juninho [sporting director]? No. He was immediately honest with me when he called me: he knew the period I had gone through in Milan, but above all he knew me before Milan. He knew exactly who I was. He knew I could return. the player I was at Flamengo, a warrior who fights for the team. Today, when I play, I want to reward Juninho for the trust he has given me.
“Did I know that Lyon wanted me in 2017 too? Yes, I did know (smiles). My agent told me about it. I was happy to know that they had already sought me in 2017. But there were discussions already advanced with other clubs. Was I also too expensive? Yes, maybe! (laughs).”
“Do I need a mentor? I don’t know. In Milan, I arrived in a new country, in a new continent, it was a different language. Leonardo helped me a lot, he accompanied me. In a half season with him, things went well for me. We can say he was my mentor, yes. But then he went to Paris. At that moment I felt a bit lonely, not yet perfectly adapted to the culture and the club.
“But that experience he helped me: I have grown a lot as a player and as a man. Here, in Lyon, it is true that Juninho gives me confidence and you see a ready Paqueta, adapted to team-mates, identified in the club. But I also owe it to Milan and Leonardo, whom I want to thank. He helped me and thanks to him I became someone capable of facing difficulties.”