Oscar did not find it difficult to turn his back on Premier League leaders Chelsea in favour of a lucrative move to Shanghai SIPG and a spell in the Chinese Super League that has led many to question the direction of his career.
The Brazil international’s record-breaking €60million switch drew both intrigue and ire from across the game.
At 25, Oscar does not fit the profile of many star CSL imports, such as Carlos Tevez, among the recent big-bucks influx.
After four-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge he has been accused of abandoning a major European league during his prime years, as opposed to seeking one last substantial payday.
Oscar concedes his ages does set him apart from other players lavished with substantial CSL pay packets over recent months, but insists he was attracted by the project SIPG presented and the prospect of a fresh start.
“I think it wasn’t difficult because the project they [SIPG] showed me was really cool,” he told Omnisport.
“They are wanting to bring new players. And I was the youngest.
“Although I was only 25 years old, I had been at Chelsea for five years. So, I was there long enough.
“And the China project, their league is really cool and I was very happy.”
Finding himself on the margins at Chelsea was an influential factor for the former Internacional playmaker, whose final Premier League start this season came in a 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool in September.
His contribution to the Blues ongoing 13-match winning streak in the top-flight stands at 36 minutes across four substitute appearances, but Oscar insists there are no hard feelings.
“No, it was good for me, it was good for Chelsea,” he said of his transfer. “And all the parties were happy.
“Shanghai was happy too. The club was very happy with my arrival here. Everyone was very happy, I left Chelsea with the doors open.”
Oscar’s goodwill extends to Antonio Conte, the Chelsea head coach whose inspired switch to a 3-4-3 formation prompted their rapid upturn in fortunes and in turn heralded the end of the player’s time in west London.
“Conte is a nice guy who won over the group,” he said, acknowledging some of the early teething problems experienced by the ex-Juventus and Italy boss.
“At the beginning [it] was not easy because his philosophy is a bit different, but everyone has adapted and now the result are showing it.”
Oscar was not named in Tite’s Brazil squad for last November’s World Cup qualification victories over Argentina and Peru having been an unused substitute during the wins against Bolivia and Venezuela the previous month.
It is almost 14 months since his last appearance at international level, but the presence of CSL-based duo Paulinho and Renato Augusto in the Selecao midfield last time out, along with the significant Brazilian presence in China including the likes of Hulk and Alex Teixeira, means Oscar should not expect to become the forgotten man while in Shanghai.
“I think my main focus is here,” he added. “And after I start the championship and I start to return to play my best football, I can think of going back to the Selecao.
“But the first thought now is to return to playing my best football and helping the team here.”
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