Wolfsburg - VfL Wolfsburg's silent star Luiz Gustavo says he will continue to dodge the limelight as he instead bids to let his actions speak louder than words in the quest for glory this season.
'Don't want to be the star'
The former FC Bayern München midfielder is the heartbeat of Wolfsburg's team, confidently distributing passes and breaking down opposition attacks while letting the others take the headlines.
He earned praise from all quarters during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, right up to Brazil's humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals. His diligent manner and subtle interventions may have been viewed somewhat anonymously, but behind almost every stroke of Neymar Jr. brilliance stood a telling involvement from the Wolves midfielder.
That is just the way the modest 27-year-old likes it, and the Bundesliga should not expect anything different from him. "I don't want to be the star," he told Germany's popular sports magazine Kicker. "Of course everybody likes to hear positive things being said about them, but I'm just an ordinary person."
Happy in Wolfsburg
Anybody who has seen the tireless midfielder in action for club or country will doubt that last comment. There is little ordinary about a player who plays such an integral part in his team's fortunes. Indeed, his performances in recent years have been quite extraordinary, inevitably earning him links to many other of Europe's top clubs.
"I can't do anything about that," he said with his usual humbleness. "It's only normal that clubs show an interest after the World Cup and every player is honoured to be linked with such clubs, but there have been so many rumours in my career and it was no different when I was at Bayern. But I'm totally relaxed about it, and I'm very happy in Wolfsburg anyway."
Fans of the Wolves can therefore expect to see him orchestrating the action once again this season, which promises to be a challenging one with UEFA Europa League duties also on the agenda. "It's important that we have another good season," said Gustavo. "We want to play a leading role in all three competitions, and I think we have great potential to reach our goals."
Success would be an improvement on last season's fifth-placed finish and a sustained run in Europe, and the Brazilian feels they can deliver. "We were almost there last year, and now we've strengthened well," he said optimistically. "We need to do even better this season, and we all know that." Just don't shout it too loudly - Luiz Gustavo prefers to keep things quiet.