Fan favourite Lucas is 'where he belongs' after signing new long-term Liverpool deal
16:45 GMT, 10 April 2013
16:49 GMT, 10 April 2013
Liverpool have announced that influential midfielder Lucas Leiva has signed a new long-term contract at the club.
The Brazilian who has made 20 appearances in the Premier League this season, has put pen to paper on a new deal as Brendan Rodgers looks to build a midfield capable of challenging for the top four in the coming years.
The news comes just over two years to the day that the 26-year-old signed another long-term contract with the club, that time being rewarded for his superb form by manager Kenny Dalglish.
Signing in: The midfielder has pledged his future to the club after several impressive seasons
He told the club's website: 'It's another long-term contract that I have signed – but it was the same feeling as when I first came here.
'I am really delighted to have the opportunity to play for this club. It's where I think I belong and where I wanted to stay, so I am very happy and looking forward to a few more years here.
'It was an easy decision because after the long period of my career I have had here, I would like to give the best of my time to this club. It was not a difficult decision to make and I am really looking forward to what will hopefully be a few more years with a lot of success.'
Lucas, who has appeared for Brazil on 20 occasions, joined the Merseyside club from Brazilian side Gremio for a reported 5million in July 2007, making 208 appearances since and slowly becoming a fans favourite after a slow start.
His previous deal was due to run out in the summer of 2015.
The club's managing director Ian Ayre showed his delight with the signing, which warns off any of Europe's top clubs making a move for the midfield maestro.
Ayre told the club's website: 'It's fantastic. He has been such a great servant to the club and I think during the period he went through with his two injuries, he put so much work into it and the club supported him through it.
'He just goes from strength to strength. We said throughout last summer and January, we wanted to keep our best, experienced players, and this is another great example of that.
'The manager has said several times that as well as having a great, young squad, it's important we have experience and it's important we have characters. People like Lucas fit that.
'He'll tell you he's still very young, but in footballing terms he's experienced and a big part of the team.'
Coming of age: After a slow start at the club, the Brazilian has been an influential member of midfield