Anytime Columbus Crew SC’s supporters enter MAPFRE Stadium, they are welcomed by several gigantic player banners that are hung on the south end of the venue. Some of the faces displayed have been hanging there for a while, such as team captain Wil Trapp, veteran midfielder Federico Higuain and Ghanaian fullback Harrison Afful.
For the 2018 season, though, the club selected some new players to expose to fans on the banners and one of them is Artur, who celebrated his 22nd birthday last Sunday. One day before, the Brazilian midfielder played in a stadium with his banner for the first time.
Being one of the faces of the team in his second year with the club was a surprise for the midfielder, who felt proud when he first saw the banners.
“I feel happy about it,” he said. “It’s pleasant to see the confidence the club has on my game. I got a photo from a friend when the banners were hung and I was surprised to see I would be there.”
The club’s choice obviously reflects the importance Artur earned with Crew SC over the last year. The Brazilian quickly became an important piece of the team during a loan season, which the Black & Gold make his transfer permanent in the offseason.
With the more relevant status, comes more responsibility. The club invested in Artur and is obviously confident that he can progress and play a central role in the team’s campaign.
“Starting my second year, I feel ready to give more,” Artur added. “I’m better adjusted to the country, to the team, to the league and I expect to do more than I did last year. Every year I want to be better. That’s what the club expects from me, but more than that, it’s what I want for myself.”
One of the areas the Brazilian feels he needs to improve to be able to help the team more in 2018 is his offensive game. In 2017, Artur ended the season with three assists and took 26 matches to score his first goal. In 2018, he expects to find the back of the net more often.
So far, he has one assist in two matches, but also took part on Gyasi Zardes' second goal of the season against the Montreal Impact, heading the ball off the crossbar.
“I feel I can improve my offensive game,” he said confidently. “An objective I have for this season is to try to score more goals.”