Few Brazilians made more of an impression in German football than former Wolfsburg striker Grafite.
The ex-Brazil international striker spent four glorious years in the Bundesliga, during which he established himself as one of Europe’s leading strikers, netting countless goals and leading the Lower Saxony club to a Bundesliga crown.
"Wolfsburg was a special chapter in my career,” he told Brasil Global Tour.
“2009 was the year I reached my physical, technical and mental peak. We won the title and I was the top scorer and won the player of the year award. It was everything I've always dreamed of.”
His form would earn him a place in the Selecao’s 2010 World Cup squad and, ahead of this year’s competition, the current Brazil side are now preparing for Tuesday’s warm-up clash with Germany.
The Brasil Global Tour lands at Berlin’s Olympiastadion for what will be the first meeting between the two sides since World Cup 2014, and Grafite believes they will meet on a much more even footing this time out.
"It’s just another match, even though the Brazilian press has been talking a lot about Brazil's reunion with Germany. I don’t see a tense atmosphere, nor should it be faced with any sense of rivalry.
“Tite is preparing this side and the players very well. Of course, it will be tough, hotly disputed, but it will be no rematch.”
Dani Alves: Coutinho stands alongside Neymar - it's brilliant to play with him. pic.twitter.com/CYd55kG2ID— Brasil Global Tour (@BGT_ENG) March 27, 2018
Grafite, who won four caps for his country, went on to praise the job coach Tite has done since his arrival and despite Brazil being without star player Neymar for the clash in Berlin, the former Wolfsburg man believes they can cope without him.
"Today, Brazil are ready for the World Cup,” he said.
“Since Tite took over a year-and-a-half ago, the team have really grown, both technically and tactically. Neymar is our star, but the team is now a collective and can make up for his absence. Of course, he will be important for our chances of winning a sixth World Cup, but the team now looks ready.”
"The Selecao are set for a great World Cup. I don’t know if they will be champions, but they are going to compete for the title. It’s just that in Brazil only winning matters – finishing second or third means nothing. I think they have a great chance of reaching the final.”
The former striker also praised Dani Alves, who will captain Brazil against Germany on Tuesday, insisting the PSG full-back has what it takes to lead the team.
"Dani has a great history with the Selecao. He’s always been an extrovert, playful. I did not know him personally before World Cup 2010, but I met him during our preparations for the tournament and he always treated me very well. He was always very fun, he had his group, but he was always good, playing with us. I hope he can lift the title for us."
Treino pic.twitter.com/L7X7ubh4nV— Brasil Global Tour (@BGT_ENG) March 26, 2018
Finally, Grafite went on to stress that he believes we will see a Brazilian victory over the Germans on Tuesday.
"Look, for today's game, I think Brazil will win. They’re motivated, well-prepared, and Germany will not have all their strongest players. I think Brazil will win 2-1, 1-0 or 3-0.”