Oscar: Some were surprised that I went to China, but I can't decide my life on what other people think
What have your first weeks with Shanghai SIPG been like?
It's never easy when you move to another country, but things are running well for me. I spent a few days in Shanghai and then we travelled for training abroad, in Qatar. So I'm already working hard with the boys, training every day to get ready for the season. So far, so good, I'd say. I'm quite impressed with my first days at this club and I like Shanghai as a city as well.
You travelled to Shanghai after signing: what was that experience like? What were the fans like?
It was a great experience. There were many supporters waiting for me; it was a special day in my life. My first impression was that Chinese people are crazy about football. And I already knew that Shanghai supporters are some of the best over there, so it's no surprise what they did for me. I'm very happy to be part of Shanghai SIPG.
Was that the first time you'd been to China or Shanghai? What do you think of the city? What are the differences to London?
My first impressions of Shanghai were good too, and I'm just happy with the whole package of this new challenge
It was my first time in Shanghai, but not in China – I've been to Beijing with Brazil before. I found Shanghai a really nice city, there's everything you need. And that counts too. At the end of the day, it's not only about football, the place where you live is very important. So if you can play for a club from an interesting city, that's the perfect scenario.
This is one of the reasons I was so happy playing for Chelsea, as London is a fantastic city. My first impressions of Shanghai were good too, and I'm just happy with the whole package of this new challenge. Shanghai is a metropolis which reminds me of New York in many aspects. People say it's about money, but the city played its part in my decision to accept the offer.
What else was important in your decision to move to China?
The financial aspect was important, but it's not all about money
I had an offer from Chinese football last year as well, but I didn't want to go further at that time. Now, I listened to their offer and the project sounds perfect. In every conversation we had they were coming with an even more attractive offer. In the end, it was something good for me, Chelsea and Shanghai.
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.
How hard was it to leave Chelsea?
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. 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.
How big a factor was the fact that you weren't playing?
There were offers from European sides as well, but things just didn't work for all parties
I can't deny it 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.
Did you speak to Antonio Conte about things, and if so what did he say? Did he want you to stay at Chelsea?
Conte is a nice guy. He respected my decision and understood I want to play more regularly. When he arrived in Chelsea, I told him there were clubs interested in me. He said that I was part of his plans and I decided to stay. However, things in football change quickly and I lost my place in the team, which is absolutely normal. With a nice project like Shanghai crossing my way I thought it was time to go, and he understood.