Lucio signs new Bayer deal
By Thomas Zeh
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The tall defender, who is currently undergoing ankle treatment in his home country, had been linked with a host of European top clubs including Real Madrid, but has surprisingly accepted Leverkusen's offer to sign a contract extension until 2007.
"During my trip to Brazil I was stunned at how grateful Lucio is for what the club did for him in the past," declared Calmund.
"I was myself surprised that he agreed to our offer, he showed character in a way in which you don't find that often any more these days."
Lucio joined Leverkusen from Internacional Porto Alegre in 2000 and became a full international by inspiring Bayer to runners-up spot in the German Cup, Die Bundesliga and the Champions League last season before missing almost all the games this season with ankle problems.
Weakened by the loss of Ze Roberto and Michael Ballack, who joined Bayern Munich, and long-term injuries to key figures such as Lucio and Jens Nowotny, Leverkusen have endured a nightmare season so far and, despite replacing coach Klaus Toppmoller with Thomas Horster, the club are still threatened with relegation to Bundesliga Zwei.
Calmund is meanwhile optimistic that, with Lucio's return, better times will arrive at The BayArena.
"I believe he will return in two or three weeks and this will surely give us an enormous boost," explained the general manager.