In the 2002 FIFA World Cup quarter-final match against England, Lúcio made a mistake that allowed England to score the opening goal.

“That was my fault,” says Lúcio, whose given name is Lucimar Ferreira da Silva. “When I left the field that day, someone from the Brazilian national team said something I'll never forget: 'God would never let that happen to me.' ”

It was a cutting comment, but Lúcio knew better—God doesn't play favourites.

The Brazilian team went on to win the game and the tournament, and Lúcio was one of three players who played all 630 minutes of it.

“Now, if we had lost 1-0, I'm sure that people would always remember that I had failed and that the team had lost,” the centre back says. “But that's not how it turned out.

“Independent of what you have, who you are, where you play and what you do, apart from your work or your profession, Jesus loves you the same,” he continues. “For me, I see this when I win or even when I fail. In God's eyes, I'm the same person and He's going to continue to love me just the same.”

Talent, Opportunity, Responsibility
This win was just one of many accomplishments Lúcio has accumulated with the team. As well as the 2002 World Cup, the Brazilians were the victors of the 2005 and 2009 Confederations Cup finals.

“In 2002, I had the opportunity to be champion and, without a doubt, it was a special moment,” says Lúcio. “Winning the FIFA World Cup in 2002 was a dream come true.”

Lúcio remembers being a teenager in 1994 when Brazil captured the FIFA World Cup. Even though it seemed far off, he imagined what it would be like to win. “In Brazil, everyone dreams of this,” he smiles.

Born in Planaltina, Lúcio started playing for his hometown club and began his professional career four years later with Sport Club Internacional. He is a strong defender who also adds presence to the attack, and is renowned for his aerial skills.

Lúcio captained Brazil to victory in the 2009 Confederations Cup over the United States, scoring the winning goal on a header from a corner kick.

“People have said to me many times, 'You don't need God. You are happy and joyful because you have money, play for a big club, as well as for the national team, and you live well.'

“That's totally untrue,” he counters. “I need God all the more because of the demands of the club and the national team, and the attention I need to give to my wife and children. This is where I need God the most because He has given me great talents and opportunities—but with them come great responsibilities.

“I always tell people, including my wife and children, that we need to seek God first and He will take care of the rest,” Lúcio adds.

The Search
Lúcio believes that God knows the heart of each person and has a plan for each of us.

“Without a doubt, today I can say that God has done things in my life that I never could have imagined,” Lúcio says.

“Jesus said, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me' (John 14:6). We all sin and fall short.” But God gave all of us a second chance by His sacrifice on the cross.

“If I only had soccer, fame or titles, but didn't have God, I wouldn't be happy,” Lúcio adds. “I believe that in order to be happy, you have to be right with God. You have to be searching after God and walking with Him.”

(Article courtesy of Athletes in Action)

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