In searing form when injury hit, Leonardo has cause to be rather displeased with the luck he’s had, but the Brazilian has matured enough in the past few months to face adversity with a cool head. The youngster has rolled up his sleeves and set himself the goal of setting the Kuip alight in the new year. ‘I was ready to go. But I’ll make it my season after the winter break. That’s a promise.’

‘I’ve been out for three weeks now. It happened in training. I got an unintentional kick against my ankle. It was very painful. An injury always comes at the bad moment, but just ahead of the games against Fenerbahçe and Madrid was very inopportune. And I was in great form. But that’s football. ‘I’ve got over the disappointment. People think that I missed out on a dream by missing the Madrid game, but it was never a dream of mine. The only dream I’ve ever had is to play in the Feyenoord first team and it came true. Real Madrid will come around again one day. It was a pity that I couldn’t travel with the lads. I really enjoy that. ‘I’ll miss the first half of the Champions League. It’ll be January before a get back to the level I was before the injury. I’m now playing catch-up against other players. ‘I watched the Fenerbahçe and Real games on TV. We were very good against Fenerbahçe, although the Turks were a little disappointing. I didn’t think we were very strong against Madrid. We had too much respect for them, while Feyenoord has never had such a strong squad. There’s a lot of competition here and the coach will have a problem when everyone’s fit.’ Leonardo has found it difficult in past to deliver what Bert van Marwijk was asking for, which might be compared to what Robin van Persie is going through at the moment. Leonardo himself is not so quick to make such a comparison. ‘I cannot say a lot about the Robin van Persie situation, apart from the fact that it isn’t comparable to my own. And that he has to learn from it like I did. I really thought I was right and I obviously wasn’t. I learned from that and Robin will have to learn. It’s unfortunate that that’s how it is, because he’s a good guy.
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