Andreas Pereira ignored Romelu Lukaku and doesn't regret it one bit 1 year ago

Andreas Pereira ignored Romelu Lukaku and doesn't regret it one bit

Romelu Lukaku was eager to persuade Manchester United teammate Andreas Pereira to join him in the Belgium national team set-up.

Lukaku spoke to Pereira, whose international future remained up in the air until very recently, about the possibility of joining him to work under Roberto Martinez.

Pereira played for Belgium's U15, U16 and U17 sides, having been born in Antwerp, but both of his parents are from Brazil and he represented the Seleção at U20 and U23 levels. 

The United midfielder was called up to the senior Brazil squad for the first time last month but it could have been so different if Lukaku got his way.

"He tried to convince me," Pereira said of Lukaku's attempt to get him to declare for Belgium.

"He spoke to me: ‘You have to play for Belgium’.

"He came to talk to me, he’s always talking to me.

"I told him ‘it’s difficult, Lukaku, can’t do it, it’s not the same. Playing for Belgium is something else.

"Playing for the Brazilian national team… It’s Brazil, I feel at home’. Then Lukaku said: ‘If that’s the way it is, you have to follow your heart’.

"And then he respected my decision."

Pereira's friends didn't make his decision any easier during the World Cup, when they mocked Brazil's elimination at the hands of Belgium in the semi-finals.

The 22-year-old was urged to make himself available to Martinez but Pereira defied everyone and stayed true to his dream of pulling on the famous yellow jersey.

"It was complicated. I was in Belgium watching and it was difficult to see Brazil lose. Everybody messing with me. Wow, it was… I was very angry," he told Globo Esporte, via Manchester Evening News.

"I have a friend from Belgium and I was watching it with him.

"I couldn’t do it, I left the room, I got very mad.

"And they all had a laugh, my father’s friends saying ‘wow, look at Brazil there, you have to choose Belgium, you have to choose Belgium’.

"I said, 'I can’t do it, I can’t do it’."