Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt meet, Wednesday, in search of the European Super Cup, a confrontation between the Champions League and European League champions from last season. Among the Brazilians involved in the decision, one is still unknown on the national scene: Lucas Silva Melo. Or simply tuta, as it is known.
nickname Like the former striker with spells at Fluminense, Flamengo, Palmeiras and Grêmio, the 23-year-old defender passed through the Sao Paulo base before arriving in Frankfurt in 2019. Last season, he was one of the German club’s star players, with 38 games and four goals. . Although he was on the other side of the field, the athlete did not praise his fellow Merengues.
We don’t have a lot of connections, but I’m happy to see other Brazilian players with such a high level of quality. I really admire everyone’s work: Militao, Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo and Casemiro. I am honored to be able to compete in the Super Cup against them.
Real Madrid vs Eintracht Frankfurt will follow in real time from 16:00 (Brasilia time) this Wednesday
Tota faces Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final against West Ham – Photo: Getty Images
Expectations for this type of game are always very high. Our team is very excited and wants to start the season with the Super Cup. All the team, even the new players that have arrived, are working so we can get the best preparation possible for this match – the defender told GM.
Difficult start in football and cup
Tota took his first steps in football at the age of six, when he began attending a community school in São Paulo, in Butanta, west of São Paulo. There, the youngest of Fernanda’s three children met Marcelo Hernani, his first coach. It was he, years later, when Tota was already in Pequeninos do Jockey, he persuaded the defender’s mother not to give up on the boy’s career.
– My mother was at a point where she was already very tired, and we were in a hurry. You no longer see the strength to keep going there, you no longer find a reason to continue in football. And this coach said, ‘No, Donna Fernanda. Follow him there, because he has a lot of future,’ Tota said.
– He put us in an opportunity that was the best of my life, because he got a call from a coach from Sao Paulo, from Cotia, asking him to help train Sieve. My mother took her last strength and took me in this sieve for a month. In the middle of 30 or 40 kids, I was selected.
Tota was a champion with Sao Paulo in the SP Junior Cup in 2019 – Photo: Marcos Ripoli
At Tricolor Paulista, Tota, who arrived as a defensive midfielder, started playing as a defender, and it worked. In 2018, he won the Campeonato Brasileiro de Aspirantes, the Brazilian Under-20 Cup and the Supercopa do Brasil Under-20 Cup. But in 2019, in his final year in São Paulo, the defender won the Copa Cup by defeating Vasco in the final, alongside Anthony and Gabriel Sara and others.
– The title capped a pass through the base of São Paulo that we see has a lot of history. Copinha is a world famous competition, which is known by many people from all over the world. “I am so glad I was a part of this achievement,” he recalls.
Arrival in European football
Tota was announced by Eintracht Frankfurt in January 2019, a few days after lifting the Kupina Cup. However, the Brazilian was suspended for four months at the German club and loaned to Kortrijk from Belgium. He made his professional debut in November of that year, against Anderlecht, with a 0-0 draw, and despite the wait, the defender always kept his cool.
In my first season, what I felt the most was the intensity of the match and the fitness. The number of matches played here, which should always focus on tactical action, was the most complex.
– I knew I was there to be able to develop myself, to be able to play my first match as a professional. I spent four months on the job, preparing so when I had the chance, I knew I’d be ready. And it was. After the debut, I had a very good series of games that helped me in my development.”
Tota in a match from Belgium to Kortrijk – Photo: Getty Images
After 18 matches and a goal for the Belgian national team, Tota returned to Frankfurt in 2020. With more experience, the Brazilian started the season on the bench, but gradually conquered his space in the starting lineup, having donned the German shirt in 20 matches. Of the 36 they played. But in the 2021/22 season, the defender lived to the best of his ability.
The European League, the first professional title
Brilliant start in the squad led by coach Oliver Glasner, Tota became a key element of the team’s undefeated campaign in Eintracht Frankfurt in the European League, where he renewed his contract until 2026. On his way to the cup, Frankfurt beat Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham before reaching The Grand Final against Rangers.
– We had an excellent campaign, I think, without defeats, something extraordinary. We strategized, and in game after game things started to work. The second match against Real Betis was very complicated. But after Barcelona, we gained a lot of confidence and the conviction that we can become champions.
Tota fights for the ball during the Europa League final – Photo: Albert Jia/Reuters
However, in the decision, not everything went as planned. In the second half, Rangers opened the scoring after the failure of the Brazilian, who was substituted shortly thereafter. It remained only for the defender to cheer.
I was very frustrated with the way the goal was scored. Every player always strives to do his best for the team. At that moment, I was already tired, I felt very tired. It was death. No player wants to leave the field like this. When we tied the match, a weight came down on our back.
Eintracht Frankfurt defender Tota
Tota accepts the European League Cup – Photo: Getty Images
Right at the feet of Bouri, who converted the last penalty, Frankfurt returned to lift the European Cup after 41 years of waiting. With the help of the fans, champions of the title, Tota and his companions got a place in the group stage of the Champions League, as well as the opportunity to play in the UEFA Cup.
– To be honest, I never imagined so much success of being the European champion in my first season, and actually winning the Champions League. Not in such a recent time.
The audience was very important in every match. They have this tradition of always being supportive, and always being together from the first minute to the last second. It was news to the media, but we are already used to those feelings. This nickname is almost 100% of them – a seal.
Eintracht Frankfurt fans during the final match with Rangers in the Europa League – Photo: Julio Muñoz / EFE
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