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By ESPN Staff
Sep 25, 2008

Striker Fred pledges future to Lyon

Fred insists his priority is to remain at Lyon even though personal problems are affecting his prospects of re-establishing himself in the first team.

The Brazil striker lost his place in the French champions' starting XI to emerging Les Bleus star Karim Benzema last season, and came close to leaving the club in January.

He opted to stay at Les Gones but has experienced injury setbacks and a loss of form since.

He has now revealed, at a press conference at Lyon's training ground on Thursday, that his enthusiasm waned because of family problems.

But he remains committed to Lyon despite everything and would like to extend his stay at Stade Gerland beyond the end of this season, when his contract expires.

"I can assure everyone that my priority is to stay at Lyon," he said.

I will not talk to another club before discussing with president (Jean-Michel) Aulas. That is what I am going to say to my brother, who is my agent.

"We have already received one offer (from Lyon) last year but we didn't accept it. After the recent game against Nice, the president spoke about another meeting. I hope that will happen before January.

"I repeat, I have given my word to the president that I will not talk to another club beforehand."

When asked to explain his dip in form over the last couple of years, Fred said: "I have had a lot of personal problems. Last year, I went through a divorce and my ex-wife left for Brazil with my little girl.

"To stay near her and to be able to see her, I asked the club to loan me for six months to Brazil.

"But the president told me that he only wanted to talk about a (permanent) transfer and said to me, 'Some European clubs want to buy you'.

"But if I am going to play in Europe, I'd prefer to stay at Lyon."

Fred was whistled by the Lyon crowd when he was substituted during last week's 2-2 draw with Fiorentina in the Champions League.

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