The Brazilian, who has signed a three-year deal with Al Ain, insists the Ligue 1 side's financial problems meant it could not keep him at the club.
The Brazilian signed a three-year deal with the United Arab Emirates outfit after four years with the Ligue 1 side, although he spent the second half of last season on loan at Schalke.
The Bundesliga club declined the opportunity to sign him permanently, prompting his switch to Al Ain, and the 30-year-old insists he would sooner have prolonged his stay with Lyon, but financial issues forced their hand.
"It was not possible to stay with Lyon. The problem did not come from me. I did not want to leave Lyon," he told RMC. "It was the president who told me he had some difficulties keeping certain players.
"I owe a lot to Lyon. I only left last year because it was Schalke. [President] Jean-Michel Aulas has always told me my return would be impossible for financial reasons. That's why I'm no longer in Lyon."