Willian’s move to Chelsea from Anzhi Makhachkala has enabled him to secure a place in Brazil’s World Cup squad, and the player himself is determined to make a positive impact on the biggest stage of all as the hosts chase a sixth success in the competition…
Since moving to Stamford Bridge last August Willian has been pleased with his individual form, and the Brazilian hopes to carry it into the World Cup as he realises a childhood dream.
The attacking midfielder enjoyed an impressive first season with the Blues, establishing himself as a regular in the side and earning an international recall. Now, as he prepares to take part in the biggest sporting event in the world, on home soil, he spoke of his emotions.
‘I am very glad since my arrival at Chelsea I adapted well and played as many games as I did,’ he tells the official Chelsea website.
‘It’s been a good period getting called up to the national team and everything has gone well. I’m very pleased with the way things are going in my life at the moment.
‘I feel a little bit nervous. The prospect of playing the World Cup in Brazil is a childhood dream being achieved.’
As hosts, Brazil will open the tournament against Croatia on Thursday, before facing further examinations against Cameroon and Mexico in the group stages of the competition.
The game against Croatia may pit Willian against a couple of former team-mates from his time as a Shakhtar Donetsk player – Eduardo and Darijo Srna.
‘Yes, I speak with them sometimes and when I do, they joke around telling me to ask the other Brazilian guys to play slowly,’ he says laughing.
‘Obviously we are at home and it is in front of our fans, so we are anxious, but other teams are anxious about facing us also, and we all want it to come as soon as possible.’
The five-time winners last triumphed in the competition back in 2002, a tournament Willian, like most Brazilians, remembers fondly.
‘I remember the final in 1994, when we have good memories of Baggio hitting the ball over the bar,’ he recalls.
‘Then in 2002, when Ronaldo scored the two goals to make us champions. They are very special memories for every Brazilian.’