In a year where surprises were mostly disappointing for Columbus Crew SC, Artur was the exception.
Signed on a one-year loan by the club a few weeks before the start of the 2017 season, the Brazilian midfielder quickly transitioned from a complete unknown to a key piece in the team’s system and a fan favorite for the Black & Gold.
Artur’s first season in Columbus was a success, but he expects more in 2018. Particularly, taking part in the team’s preseason, which he didn’t do last year as he was signed after the Black & Gold left Brazil, is a reason for excitement for the 21-year-old midfielder.
“It’s great that I could join preseason this year,” Artur said on Wednesday. “Getting my body ready for the season is important and I will start the year in the same rhythm of everybody else, so I believe 2018 will be even better than last year.”
#CrewSC faces Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo in the @PacificRimCup in a couple weeks & @arturl33 already has experience playing against a team! pic.twitter.com/69Fw2tbkJB— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) January 25, 2018
The Brazilian returned to Columbus last week, a few days before the team started preparations for the upcoming season. His offseason was entirely spent in his hometown Salvador, where he reunited with his family and also made an important decision for the future of his career.
It was reported in Brazilian media that São Paulo FC, the club that owned the biggest share of his rights, wanted Artur back in 2018, but the midfielder agreed to return to Crew SC with the club reportedly spending $1.5 million to acquire 50 percent of his rights in what is the Black & Gold’s biggest move leading to the 2018 season.
“It was a difficult decision, but I believe it was the right one,” the Brazilian added. “I talked to my family a lot about it and I feel that my future is here. I am happy here and I want to be a big player in this league and I will keep working to achieve that.
“I think I can keep developing in this league, which is also growing and, to me, will be one of the best soon. My goal is to have a beautiful career here, keep competing in the high level and I am sure people will be paying attention on what I am doing here.”
Excited to be back, but patient under pressure. @arturl33 #CrewSC pic.twitter.com/bOysOrdL5Q— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) January 24, 2018
Settled in Columbus and with his future with the club now guaranteed, all Artur wants is to keep progressing. The midfielder believes that with a better knowledge of everything around him, he’s in a good position to take the next steps forward in his career.
“I had to change my life to another country, I am alone here, my family is far and it’s not easy,” he commented. “Now I understand everything a little bit better, including the country and the league, and it should be easier. You can only grow when you face big obstacles and that’s what happened last year. I’m looking forward to keep learning and progressing on the field and I am confident.”