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May 29, 2014

Oscar still with Sao Paulo in his heart

Oscar was a key component of Brazil's 2013 Confederations Cup success.
Oscar was a key component of Brazil's 2013 Confederations Cup success.

In mid-2008, Oscar, a 16-year-old midfielder with São Paulo, gave the following interview to the Estação Tricolor website. "I want to make a name for myself here on the São Paulo team. Since I was a boy, São Paulo has been my team. My mother always told me that my father's dream -- who is also called Oscar -- was for me to play for São Paulo. I don't want to leave so soon, I don't want to leave here for a while. But sometimes it's too much, enough with all these proposals, it's a lot of money and it gets complicated, you have to build your life." The tricolor fan should not judge Oscar for the declarations he made at a young age right before his debut as a professional player. He never stopped saying that his team was São Paulo and that it was a dream to defend the Morumbi team even when he played for Internacional. "I don't have a father, my father passed away when I was three years old, my mother has always lived as a widow, I have two sisters. At home, it was kind of difficult, I've never starved, but it was hard. São Paulo helped me change my life completely and helped me buy a house." Since Oscar was a boy, the competition has always had an eye on him. Soon after being taken from the soccer school where he played in Campinas to the capital, he starred in a tournament of juniors in Manchester. "I played very well, and then the siege began. There were lots of teams interested, there was Chelsea..." -- and he had to be hidden by São Paulo to avoid leaving without financial compensation before the age of 16, and this is when he started being called "Bubble Boy". He stayed and signed a five-year contract with the Tricolor, which later would serve as motive to force the termination of his contract -- the maximum contractual tie of an athlete at that age is of three years. He did not become the soccer star everyone expected while playing for São Paulo. Things did not start well between the soccer club and the midfielder. His first professional game was a return leg of the round of 16 of the Copa Sudamericana against Atletico-PR. Not only was he the first-string player, but he was chosen by coach Muricy Ramalho to take one of the penalty kicks after regulation time. He missed and Atletico-PR advanced. Although he missed the shot, Oscar admits he cried after discovering he would make his debut on the main team and, until this day, he affirms he had a great performance in that game. The São Paulo fans never really cared for the player and the relationship became worse after he abandoned the team that discovered him to defend Internacional. Oscar did not succeed rapidly playing in Rio Grande do Sul either. Some months were necessary to justify the exhibits of the times of the base. In 2011, they discovered that the new player wearing the number 10 jersey in fact had something in common with the soccer star he looked up to. "I really like [Juan Roman] Riquelme. He's very calm and so am I, I like to hold the ball a little before launching it. I really like him." In one year, Chelsea, which in 2008 tried taking Oscar to London while he was still a child, was paying almost R$80 million to Inter to have the talent's support. He had already foreseen this. "Sometimes it's too much, enough with all these proposals, it's a lot of money and it gets complicated, you have to build your life."