Leonardo Dos Santos returned to Feyenoord fired up and raring to go, after spending Christmas and New Year in his homeland Brazil. The break appears to have done him a world of good. “By the end of 20001 I was finding the whole situation quite a strain and it was even getting me down.” The young Brazilian has now set his sights on gaining a regular place in Bert Van Marwijk’s starting eleven.

'The move to Feyenoord and sitting on the bench hit me harder than I thought it would. I obviously knew I would not get too many games, but I secretly hoped otherwise. When you then get so few chances it’s hard. Certainly for me, because I’m someone who always wants to play and needs a couple of games to get going. But a new year is a new beginning. At least, that’s how I see it. The holiday was good for me. I was home in Rio de Janeiro, saw my friends and family, enjoyed the wonderful weather, barbecued, whatever. It put me back into a good frame of mind. For a footballer, a period of absolute rest at least once a year is essential. A training camp is a lot less pleasant than a holiday, but also essential. We only really leave the hotel to train or to play. But it’s part of the game and I’m not complaining. It was great to beat Kaiserslautern, although I only had a small part to play. I only went on for the last five minutes. I was afraid I wouldn’t even get a touch. Happily, I did. In a flash I saw Ebi was free and managed to set him up for a goal. Great to get an assist, because I like to make things difficult for the trainer in his selection! I know it’ll be hard to win a place in the first team. Kalou is away for the African Nations Cup, but Johan Elmander is doing well. You can see he is confident, because the trainer has given him an extended run. I’m waiting for that kind of opportunity now too. And till then, I’ll continue to work hard in training to make sure I deserve my chance.'
Feyenoord Business CLub