Anfield star says farm work helps him relax during summer break.
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has revealed how he escapes the pressures of Premier League football during the summer break – by working on his family’s cattle farm in Brazil.
While the Samba nation has gained a reputation for nurturing youngsters from the city streets into global superstars, 26-year-old Lucas says his upbringing was one of tranquillity in the countryside.
“I was fortunate to grow up in the ideal environment to help me,” Lucas told the Daily Telegraph.
“Every summer when I was a youngster I would go to my grandfather’s farm in Brazil to work there.
“He made his life around the farm so I used to go there for months during the holidays. As a kid it was something I really enjoyed and a chance to see a way of living outside of the city.
“My brother took it over some years later and is still there looking after it so I can still go back at the end of every season.
“We have everything there, all the cattle, cows and bulls. It is different from the pressure of English football, that is for sure. A real contrast.”
Although Lucas now earns thousands of pounds per week, the Brazil international says he still chips in with farm work when he returns during the summer break.
“It is not normal, maybe, for people in England to imagine it but when I go there I make sure I play my part and do the work,” the former Gremio star continued.
“I like to remember how I spent my weekends and holidays there. Many years ago we would go and be completely cut off, with no electricity. We’ve changed it a lot since then and had the internet connected, but when I go after the season is over I still try to forget about the world and relax.”
Lucas is the nephew of former Brazil international Leivinha, who earned 21 international caps between 1972 and 1974 and the Anfield star revealed that both his uncle and his father were a major influence on his chosen career.
“I was lucky because my dad loved football, and my uncle played, so in my family I was able to go away with my dad, watch and play and be around the Brazilian national team watching the likes of Romario, Bebeto and Ronaldo and then spend time away from all this when I wanted to be on the farm,” Lucas added.
“That’s the environment where I grew up. I know kids look to players as heroes and will follow what we as players do on and off the pitch and I know I have a responsibility, but I do not feel pressure with that. If you live in the right way, it happens normally. As footballers we always want to send positive messages and sport is a way of developing your confidence and character, particularly football.”
After recovering from a serious knee injury suffered last season, Lucas made 28 appearances for Liverpool this term.