Gustavo: Training well goes a long way
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For those players still dreaming of earning the trust of recently-appointed Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, A Seleção Brasileira’s schedule for early 2013 left little room for manoeuvre. European-based contenders had a matter of just three friendly dates and, in that race against the clock, how best for a player to force the issue when not even an automatic starter for his club?

In the mind of Bayern Munich’s Luiz Gustavo the response was clear: giving absolutely everything in training. And that is exactly what the hard-running midfielder did when called up by Felipão for the friendlies against Italy and Russia, clearly doing enough to make up the coach’s mind despite being handed only a few minutes of actual playing time against the Italians.

Last week FIFA.com spoke to the player about his hopes of making the cut for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, and it was precisely the aforementioned reasons that kept his belief alive prior to Tuesday’s squad announcement.

“I’m enjoying a great period with my club and I believe that I can play a part, particularly after what I showed in training during the two call-ups,” said Gustavo, before revealing his positive impressions of the coach who guided Brazil to glory at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™.

“Things went really well with him,” said the former Hoffenheim star. “I saw that he’s a very open person, who says what he thinks and makes his ideas very clear to everybody. He’s someone who tries to give everyone confidence and show exactly what he wants, which really helps. It then just comes down to each of us to take that on board and put it into practice.”

And that is precisely what Gustavo appears to have done, not just in training with A Seleção, but also by putting in enthusiastic displays at every opportunity with Bayern. Competition for places is fierce in the 2012/13 German champions’ expensively assembled and quality laden squad, but the 25-year-old from Pindamonhangaba in Sao Paulo state knows exactly what is required to keep on proving his worth.

I’m always very self-critical, so I always work as hard as I can on every area of my game, including my mental strength, to be as complete as possible. That’s what makes me ready.
Brazil defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo

Even if only given a brief cameo on the pitch, Gustavo is never short of determination, a trait that is now serving him well in his international career. First called up by Scolari’s predecessor Mano Menezes in 2011 for a friendly against Germany, Menezes also selected the central midfielder for an encounter with Ghana.

“I’m always trying to improve on my good qualities as well as learning new things from every coach I play under,” said the left-footer, a specialist at shielding his backline yet also capable of bringing the ball forward with authority. “Every coach has his own way of doing things, his own ideas to pass on, so it’s just a question of adapting, seeing what he wants from you out on the pitch and doing your best to do just that.

“I’m always very self-critical, so I always work as hard as I can on every area of my game, including my mental strength, to be as complete as possible. That’s what makes me ready,” added a player who, for the time being at least, will be fully focused on Bayern’s UEFA Champions League final clash with Borussia Dortmund on 25 May.

And though Gustavo will be aware he currently lags behind Gremio’s Fernando in the contest for a Verde e Amarelo starting spot, he will also know that with the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 not beginning until 15 June, he has training sessions aplenty to improve his chances.