Andreas Pereira has shed light on how Romelu Lukaku tried to convince him to represent Belgium instead of Brazil.
The 22-year-old was born and raised in Belgium, representing the country between the ages of 14 and 17, but his native country is Brazil.
He put on the famous yellow shirt for the first time in 2014, playing at Under 20 level, and recently received his first call-up to the senior side.
But Pereira, left out of the squad for the win over Burnley, has noted how Lukaku attempted to convince him to play for Belgium instead.
“‘You have to play for Belgium.’ He came to talk to me, he’s always talking to me,” he said.
“I said to him ‘It’s difficult, Lukaku, it does not matter, it’s not the same. Playing for Belgium is something else. Playing for the national team … It’s Brazil, I feel at home.
“Then he spoke. ‘If that’s the way it is, you have to follow your heart.’ And then he respected my decision.”
Quite simply, this was a no-brainer of a decision for Pereira. Playing for Brazil constitutes a kind of footballing nirvana – a rite of passage, a benediction, a celebration of life itself.
Gone are the days of Ronaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, who made jogo bonito a worldwide phenomenon. Nevertheless, on an international level, nothing beats representing Brazil.
Supporters will be keen to see him make his senior debut for the Selecao against either the United States or El Salvador this week.