Brazil captain Lucio feels winning the FIFA Confederations Cup has helped him put a turbulent season and summer with Bayern Munich behind him.
The Bayern defender endured a difficult Bundesliga campaign as the Bavarian giants failed to meet expectations and reports have since emerged suggesting he does not feature in the plans of new Bayern coach Louis van Gaal. He said last week he would have no hesitation in leaving the club should he be surplus to requirements.
But the 31-year-old did not let those issues affect his form for his country as he scored the winning goal as Brazil came from two goals down to beat the USA 3-2 in Sunday's final. It capped a fine campaign for Dunga's team, who scored an impressive 14 goals in their five games in the tournament, including five from top-scorer Luis Fabiano.
They had to do things the hard way in the final, though, as they went 2-0 down after 27 minutes thanks to goals from Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano scored twice to draw them level before Lucio headed in an Elano corner six minutes from the end to seal a remarkable win.
"The way we played in the first half was really disappointing," Lucio said. "We returned to the pitch after half-time believing. I only have to thank the squad for fighting back the way they did until the end.
"Turning the score round makes it taste even better and for me, the goal meant everything. This was a tough season. Only God knows what I went through."
Lucio added: "I received surprises from my club, which I was not expecting. Not being utilised by Bayern anymore was a shock to me. But I am always happy when I am with Brazil and even more when they win. I am also happy individually. I want to thank the team, my wife, who has given me strength."
Coach Dunga was also pleased with the way his skipper performed, adding: "He is one of the best players in the world and has shown that in Germany." The Brazil boss, though, is already looking ahead to the rest of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualification campaign.
"What's important is that we carry on working in a calm way and learn from our past mistakes and also from what went well," he said. "Any squad approaching the 2010 World Cup has a lot of interest in it but the national squad must be focused and not be distracted.
"My players are a very committed team. They are high quality players, very committed professionals and they are true men. Every day they play, they give of their best and I am very happy for them." Brazil currently top the South American qualifying zone with four games to play.