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The Brazilian has admitted that the intense rivalry between the two Ruhr outfits forced him to give plenty of thought to the prospect of a transfer to Gelsenkirchen

EXCLUSIVE
By Stefan Doring

Felipe Santana has admitted that leaving Borussia Dortmund for Schalke this summer was "a hard decision" but the defender insists that he is "prepared" for any abuse he might receive from either set of supporters.

The two Ruhr clubs have a fierce rivalry and the Brazilian knows that he could well be targeted by the crowd during this season's derby matches.

"It was a hard decision," Santana told Goal. "For me, personally, though, the change has been good because I have got a new chance. And now remains to be seen what will happen.

"But since I have been here, I have been warmly welcomed and my personal contact with the fans has been good from the start.

"Since I arriuved, I have not experienced any catcalls against me and I hope it stays that way. But even if I should be booed, I'm prepared for it.

"What happened with Dortmund, happened. But I'll always be grateful to Dortmund for what I have experienced with the club. Everything I've learned there, with all the people with whom I have worked - I will remember it all fondly.

"But everyone has to find their own way, and I have found my way here. I wish Dortmund all the best but now I'm at Schalke 04 and that's what is important now."

Indeed, Santana's current focus is on nailing down a regular berth in the Schalke starting line-up, revealing that he has not been guaranteed anything by the club.

"I've always said that there is nothing in my contract that says that I have to play every game. I have to fight for it.

"Unfortunately, I was slightly injured last week, but I'm fit again and I hope it stays that way and that I'll have a good start to the season."

Santana singned a three-year contract after Schalke agreed to pay a reported €1 million for his services.

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