I was never sure of going to England. But, when I made the decision to do it, I was always very clear that I would only play in one team. Manchester United. That was the club he wanted to shine with. That was the team that fit with me.
Of course, I was always aware of Manchester United. The person who does not know the club never found out what soccer is about. Everyone who understands this sport knows very well the size of this institution.
I remember seeing a lot of team games, of course. I remember the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. I remember how Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came in to score the winning goals. They went from losing the title to winning it in a matter of minutes. However, the club is much bigger than that.
I always had a good eye to follow Manchester United. One always remembers the waves and waves of success that they achieved under the command of Sir Alex Ferguson, a coach who knew how to dominate the Premier League.
And they always played with those red shirts ...
So, I said to myself: "I could defend that shirt very well, because it is not too heavy for me."
Before playing at Manchester United, I went through great teams, where you can feel that typical pressure. You always have to meet and achieve the desired results, otherwise someone will most likely come and do the work for you.
Anyway, I like it that way. I feel comfortable under these types of situations, because I enjoy them and they help me to become better every day. The idea is to know that I must prepare for this, train and be ready.
But you have to think about the whole package, not just what leads to something new. If you focus on only one thing you will end up failing on the others. One must focus on the whole. I always enjoyed watching football this way, because this is how I manage to feel on top. When success is achieved, the feeling is much more pleasant.
Going to Manchester United was a huge thing and when I arrived at the club I tried to make an instant impact. I felt this was very important to me because I knew that I would have to deal with the expectations of the fans and the usual pressure. But I came to Old Trafford with a great predisposition and will. Therefore, I did nothing but get up in the most difficult moments, since that's when I have the best time.
I remember my first match.
We had to play a friendly against Galatasaray in Sweden.
"Ok, they are in my country now."
Three minutes after the opening whistle I had already scored my first goal at Manchester United.
Despite the fact that it is only a friendly match, one always has to try to leave everything, because the ideal is to get a rhythm of the game before the season starts. When you get to a club as big as this, you never know how patient they can be with a new player. It is key to adapt as quickly as possible, and that is what I tried to do at the time. I worked hard and tried to make my game to get used to a demanding environment. The idea was always to help the team.
However, there are still many people who keep talking and believing that they know everything. Back then, my goal was to land in England, where people said it wasn't good enough, not only to prove them wrong, but to fill me with adrenaline.
After three months everyone had to eat his words. I needed to make new enemies, because the ones I had had already become my admirers.
Oh, and the Manchester United fans are amazing. I'm not saying it just because I played at the club, but because I had the chance to be on his side and I know all the love they usually give the team. I remember when I made my Premier League debut against Bournemouth, I scored a goal and it only took a few minutes for the audience to make me a song. After a while I thought, “Guys, please, this is just beginning. Wait till I get to my highest level. Wait and see. "
Although inside I have said to myself: "This is tremendously fantastic!".
The fans really knew how to appreciate what I did in my time at the club and were very grateful to me. This is the best way to "reward" a player, because when you do your job and receive such a response from the public it is incredible. They are part of 50 percent of absolutely everything to do with it. Imagine what it would be like to play in an empty stadium… I wouldn't. Old Trafford was always full. Forever. In addition, in every game we played as a visitor, the fans always appeared, they always encouraged us.
When you receive this kind of encouragement, circumstances lead you to give more and more. We owed it to people. And I think this was one of the things that drove me the most to win titles that season.
I remember when I left the locker room and stepped onto the Wembley playing field to play in the League Cup final I was stunned by all the red jerseys I saw on the rostrum. And the setting ... wow.
As I said, these are the things that drive you to want to succeed.
Therefore, that day I managed to score two goals and raise a new glass.
Just as he had said he would.
I had a chance to win everything before coming to Manchester United, and it was a pleasure that it happened again in England. Winning is in my DNA. I need it, that's my mindset. I hate to lose. I am not a bad loser, but I love to win. At the moment of starting my career at the club I said I would be successful and it was so, because we raised two great trophies. The facts speak for themselves.
This whole first season at Manchester United was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. The family was happy, everyone was happy, the institution took good care of me and made everything much easier. Therefore, all I had to do was put on my boots, go out on the court and play.
As a boy I had a vision about what I wanted for life. You never know what may happen in the future, but these dreams led me to be who I am today. You always have to work and fight until you reach your goal. This is how I see things. I like to feel a little pressure on the road, because that helps me believe in what I want.
When I came to Manchester United and said that I wanted to conquer England, many people laughed at me.
I wasn't kidding.