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Lucas Piazon hasn’t given up yet after nearly a decade as a Chelsea loanee

The 26-year-old on playing at Rio Ave, guidance from Chelsea coaches, developing as player and person

SL Benfica v Rio Ave FC - Taca de Portugal Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

In his nine years as a Chelsea player — almost eight of which he’s spent as a member of the Loan Army™ — Lucas Piazon has been able to experience football in just about every top league in Europe. He’s played in Spain (Málaga), Italy (Chievo), Germany (Eintracht Frankfurt), England (Reading and Fulham), and the Eredivisie (Vitesse). He’s even made a couple appearances for the Chelsea first-team!

Nowadays he’s spending time in Portugal, after joining Primeira Liga club Rio Ave for two seasons on loan last summer.

“I had a call from the coach, Carlos Carvalhal, before I joined last summer. He convinced me that it would be a good move for me. I was actually close of going to another Portuguese club but I decided on Rio Ave after I spoke to the ‘Mister’.

“I signed for two years because sometimes one season is too short and you can end up having injury problems during the season and lose time. Then, when the season is over, you have to move again.

Since his arrival in September, Piazon has been able to collect ten league starts (plus two substitute appearances) Rio Ave — including this weekend as the Primeira Liga returned after the coronavirus break. That may not seem like a lot, but for a player desperate seeking some stability in his career, it’s a good step forward.

“We have a talented group of players and Carlos and his coaching team are helping us have a good season. I feel comfortable in my role in the team. Things are going well for us.

“Honestly, though, we always tried to take things game by game, not thinking too much about where we will finish.”

“[Loan player technical coach Paulo Ferreira] is the one closest to me. He speaks to me about games and he always tries to show me what I am doing well and what I can improve upon.”

The combination of guidance from Chelsea and the technical team in charge of the loanees, and his own experiences of going all over Europe in search of opportunities has made Piazon not just a better player, but also a more mature person.

“I certainly feel I am a much more complete player now than I was in Brazil, where I didn’t defend at all. In Europe, I learned to play in a lot of different positions and matured as a player, as well as tactically. I believe I arrived from South America as a kid and, slowly, I became a man here in Europe.

“I think that I can improve further, too. I am still only 26, so there is still space for growth as a player. It is hard to say [what I will become] in football, I just want to finish this season well and see where it will lead me.”

-Lucas Piazon; Source: Goal

Piazon’s career certainly hasn’t lived up to his “next Kaká” billing of ten years ago, but he still has time to find a place to settle down and have a solid career yet. He has one more year at Rio Ave and two more years on his Chelsea contract.

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