Back in December, Oscar’s decision to switch from the world’s biggest league and one of its biggest clubs in to the new riches of the Chinese Super League raised more than a few eyebrows. Beyond the massive fees (including a Chelsea club record €60m transfer fee) and salaries involved, the move was questioned from competitive, personal, and economic angles.
In a recent interview with FourFourTwo, the 25-year-old Brazilian explained the reasons behind his choice.
"The financial aspect was important, but it's not all about money. The city where you live is very important. I'm not going by myself, I have my wife and kids, so the city must be nice and Shanghai has all we need. I wasn't playing that much for Chelsea recently as well. So when I heard about their interest I was just happy to go."
"I can't deny [that the lack of playing time] was important too. I wasn't playing as much as I would like to, and that's normal in football. But I'm the kind of player that just want to play, you know? I don't like to sit on the bench, and that was my place in the last seven or eight matches."
"When these situations happen in football, other clubs show an interest and then you have to decide. There were offers from European sides as well, but things just didn't work for all parties. Then the Shanghai offer appeared and it was perfect for me, Chelsea and Shanghai."
"To be selected [for the Brazilian national team] you must be playing. Nowadays, people have access to every league in the world. There are other guys in the Seleção playing for Chinese clubs so I don't feel like I'm hidden here. I wasn't playing in England, so if I play here I might be closer to being selected now than when I was at Chelsea, right?"
"Beyond that, I knew people would be surprised to see a 25 year-old leaving the Premier League for Chinese football. But I can't decide my life on what other people think."
Oscar is in the prime of his career, or perhaps even still a few years away from his peak, and he could very well return to English or European football at some point, depending on how long the "project" in China will last. He himself does not count out a comeback, though obviously that’s not his focus at the moment.
"Very hard. I played there for five years, I arrived as a young boy and experienced so many nice moments with the club. I have a lot of respect for the supporters and the club itself."
"I'll definitely miss many things about Chelsea, England and the Premier League. Derby days are maybe on top of the list; the atmosphere in English football is something different to everything I've experienced in my career. Every game seems like a final. The stadiums are always packed and every game is really important for the table."
"The organisation of the league is brilliant and I really had fun playing there for several years. England is such a nice country to live in and hopefully I can come back one day. But honestly I'm not thinking about it now. I'm only focused on my new challenge in China."
-Oscar; source: FourFourTwo
Perhaps one day, Oscar can complete his cycle at Chelsea. After all, once a Blue, always a Blue.