Comandante Lucho spurs Marseille to Ligue 1 title

Updated: May 06, 2010, 09:21 AM IST

Marseille: Lucho Gonzalez needed time to adapt in Ligue 1 but when he did everything clicked at Olympique Marseille`s and the former European champions powered to their first league title in 18 years.

The Argentine midfielder joined the Provence side last summer for a club record 18 million euros from Porto and it was not too long before his team mates benefited from his aggressiveness and impressive passing skills.

"I needed some time to adjust," said Lucho, who has 43 caps with Argentina, and scored Marseille`s third goal in Wednesday`s 3-1 home win against Stade Rennes.

"The preparation in Ligue 1 is much tougher than what I was used to in Portugal. For the first six months, I had to get used to a new league and new team mates."

Lucho only played his first match for Marseille more than a month after the season started because of a shoulder injury.

Nicknamed El Comandante for his influence on the team, Lucho set up 11 goals throughout the Ligue 1 season, more than any other player.

In March, he definitely stamped his authority on the team in a 2-1 defeat of Olympique Lyon, demanding to take all the set pieces.

Now Lucho can set his sights on the World Cup, although coach Diego Maradona fielded him only once since he took charge in 2008.

That was in an embarrassing 6-1 defeat against Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier in April, 2009.

Maradona, however, came to Marseille to see him and fellow Argentine Gabriel Heinze.

"Diego Maradona did not tell me anything good or bad. I will hope until the end," said Lucho, who has no less than 10 tattoos, including one picuring Maradona on his left calf.

Bureau Report