By Olivier Guillemain
PARIS (Reuters) - Paris St Germain forward Lucas is confident he will be part of the Brazil squad when they host the 2014 World Cup, despite coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's warning that he needs to be playing regularly for his club.
Lucas, who left Sao Paulo in January for a fee that media reports put at 45 million euros ($61.97 million), has started only five of PSG's 11 Ligue 1 games this season and has been left out of Brazil's squad for next month's friendlies against Honduras and Chile.
"It is true I am not a regular starter but at PSG there is a lot of turnover," Lucas told Reuters in an interview.
"When I step on to the pitch I feel good and I don't think that this situation will prevent me from playing in the World Cup."
In August, Scolari warned his players they had to be playing for their clubs if they wanted to be included in the squad for next year's finals in Brazil.
Lucas has played in all three of PSG's Champions League games this season but twice started on the bench as coach Laurent Blanc preferred Ezequiel Lavezzi.
With an attack boasting Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it is no surprise he is down the pecking order at the French champions although he says joining the club has helped his game.
"There is a lot of competition here between the international forwards like Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Lavezzi," the 21-year-old Lucas said.
"I have learnt a lot here, I am growing. For instance, in Brazil I was not asked to defend so much. Now it is something I can do.
"The idea that I don't score has emerged, it is true, but I am not a striker," added Lucas.
"I have other qualities and other tasks on the pitch - help the team, bring speed and changes in pace."
While Lucas's playing time has been limited, the Brazilian says he is enjoying life in the French capital,
"I feel very happy in Paris. Adapting is not easy because of the language, the climate and the customs," he explained.
"But I feel fine on the pitch, I don't feel the pressure related to my price tag. I have no desire to leave."
PSG have long-standing ties with Brazil - Leonardo and Rai both played there - and Lucas's move from Sao Paulo has been made easier by his compatriots at the club including center back Thiago Silva.
"On the pitch he is a monster, someone outstanding, the best at his position," said Lucas of Thiago Silva.
"We are friends. I learn a lot from him. He has been helping me to adapt a lot, just like the other Brazilians - Maxwell, Marquinhos, Alex and (Italy's Brazilian-born midfielder) Thiago Motta.
"We are all good friends in this Brazilian group."
($1 = 0.7262 euros)
(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alison Wildey)
- Sports & Recreation
- Luiz Felipe Scolari