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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Obrigado Lucas

The big man wheels away in celebration
#Sniff# I guess we all knew this day was coming, but it's with heavy hearts that we have to farewell Lucas, who announced on Thursday that he's retiring (again) from football at the end of the season. He's made a massive contribution to the club in his two stints with us, and all we can do is say a massive thank you and wish him all the best for life off the pitch.

He helped us win our first-ever trophy, the Cracker Cup, in his first season with us in 2004, and his haul of 18 league goals in 2006 remains a club record in the J.League era (Kazuma has been stuck on 17 for six games now and doesn't look like breaking it). While we resented his move to Gamba after four seasons at Aji Sta, he was welcomed back with open arms after being coaxed out of a short-lived retirement with us floundering around in J2 in 2011.

His return seemed to invigorate a squad that had under performed in the season's first four months, and his nine goals in the second half of that season saw us ultimately cruise to promotion, with the icing on the cake a superb brace in the Emperor's Cup final on New Year's Day 2012, when we came from behind to beat Kyoto.

Honours with FC Tokyo

2004 - Nabisco Cup winner
2011 - J2 champions (I don't really want to count this but I guess I have to)
2011 - Emperor's Cup winner

Club Records

All-time leading scorer in J.League era: 68 J1 goals, 9 J2 goals, 94 in all competitions
Most goals in a single J.League season: 18 in 2006 J1 season

While Amaral will always be The King of Tokyo and his club record 181 goals in all competitions will never be eclipsed, Lucas has proven a worthy successor, first as the out-and-out striker we needed to fill The King's boots, and in the Ranko Popovic era as a wide midfielder still capable of banging in the goals.

He always played with a smile on his face (unless he was bawling at the ref) and his commitment to make himself better at training everyday made him an automatic choice in the XI. And while he's far from his pomp, just 12 players have scored more than his 20 J1 goals over the past two seasons. It would've been great to see him carry on for another year, but he's going out on his own terms while still making a worthwhile contribution to the team.

A model professional both on and off the pitch, a joy to watch and an FC Tokyo icon.
Obrigado Lucas.

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