Hulk determined to win over Brazil fans

Fortaleza (Brazil), June 19 (IANS) Brazil forward Hulk insists he is unaffected by jeers from the stands and has vowed to win over the hearts and minds of Brazilian supporters during the Confederations Cup.

The Zenit St. Petersburg star was booed during Brazil's friendlies against England and France earlier this month as fans called for him to be replaced by Paris Saint-Germain winger Lucas, reports Xinhua.

But the 26-year-old saw a shift in the public's attitude during Brazil's 3-0 victory over Japan in the opening Confederations Cup match in Brasilia on Saturday.

"When I hear the name of Lucas, or of another player, I don't let it affect me," Hulk said ahead of Wednesday's Group A clash against Mexico at the Castelao stadium.

"I have the confidence of my teammates and the manager and that is what is most important. I was happy when I was applauded in the last match."

Hulk left Brazil at the age of 18 in 2005 when he was signed by Japanese outfit Kawasaki Frontale. The move was followed by successful spells at J League clubs Consadole Sapporo and Tokyo Verdy, prompting Porto to pounce in 2008.

After 55 goals in 99 appearances for the Portuguese club, he was signed by Zenit St Petersburg for a reported 40 million euros in September last year.

"I left the country at a young age and for that reason people don't know me," Hulk said. "It's normal to criticise people you are not familiar with.I hope that by the end of the Confederations Cup my image is going to a lot better.

"Those close to me know that since I was young I have had to overcome difficulties. I have always confronted them and overcome them. I am happy to be in the national team and that my hard work is being recognised. Going through hardships makes your achievements all the more satisfying," he said.

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