Wed, 19 Jan 2022

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Veteran midfielder Felipe Melo has promised to help Fluminense compete for silverware as he prepares to make his debut for the Rio de Janeiro club.

The 38-year-old faced the media on Wednesday for the first time since joining Fluminense from Palmeiras on a free transfer in December.

"I've come here to fight for titles," he told reporters. "Anything less than that will be a failure. To perform well we have to work hard. Let's make it happen. Why not? I honestly think that Fluminense will be in the running for titles this season, without a doubt."

Fluminense, traditionally one of Brazil's strongest clubs, have not won a major trophy since the 2012 Brazilian Serie A title.

Melo cited Leicester City's improbable 2015-16 Premier League triumph as an example that anything can happen in football.

"Leicester were a team largely made up of unknowns who managed to win the league despite coming up against the strongest of rivals. I like to draw on that achievement to provide hope."

Melo agreed to a two-year contract less than a month after helping Palmeiras win their second consecutive Copa Libertadores title.

The former Juventus, Fiorentina and Inter Milan enforcer said he still has plenty to offer despite his advancing years.

"At the age of 38, last year was perhaps the season in which I played the most football in my career," said Melo, who has been capped 22 times for Brazil. "I played more than when I was at Juventus when I was about 25."

"Age helps with experience. You know how to look after yourself a lot more. But those who follow me know how much I take care of myself, how professional I am above all."

Fluminense finished seventh in last year's Brazilian Serie A standings, 30 points behind champions Atletico Mineiro. The result earned the club a place in the 2022 Copa Libertadores qualifying tournament, beginning in February.

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