Sunday 15 January 2017, 22:52

Oscar: We’re pioneers for Asian football

When Brazilian midfielder Oscar walks off the pitch at Aspire Academy in Qatar after a training session with his new club, a host of selfie requests await the Shanghai SIPG record signing. He handles these with the same natural confidence as he displays when talking about his new challenge in bringing forward the development of Asian football.

“I am one of the pioneers, along with those players who went before me, and I’m coming to China to help the league and help more players get to know this league,” Oscar told in Qatar.

“It is good for football that the game grows in new areas of the world. China has invested a lot of money in the league and every team now has good players. This will help raise the level of the league and football in the country.”

He continued: “I haven’t stayed there a long time yet, just two days in Shanghai, but the impressions were great, the buildings are amazing and it is a very nice city. My priority is to win the league this season.”

On his first visit to Doha, as the Chinese side prepare for the season ahead, the former Chelsea midfielder said he was also looking to come back for the second FIFA World Cup™ in Asia in six years’ time.

“I think the people here in Qatar are excited because the World Cup is one of the biggest events in the world,” he said. “In Brazil, it was an outstanding experience, and here I believe it can be the same.

“It is great that everything is within a short distance here in Qatar; in Brazil there is a very big country with sometimes two hours of flight time. Here, it is a small country with no travel, which gives us players more time to recover.

“I hope that I will be here in 2022, playing for Brazil. I am trying my best to come back to the Brazil national team, and if I am in good form, I will try to make the Brazil team in Qatar.

“My first impression of Qatar is amazing. The hotel is fantastic and the pitches are ideal for playing football. Not just me, but everyone at the club really loves to do our pre-season here.”

The skilful midfielder signed off by saying that he still watches his former team, as they lead the race for the 2016/17 English Premier League title. “My focus is on China, but I still watch the Premier League sometimes,” he explained. “Of course, I support Chelsea.”