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Football | Germany

Bastos carries Schalke's hopes



Brazil midfielder Michel Bastos, who has been signed to patch up Schalke's Bundesliga form and carry their Champions League hopes, has seen his career plagued by tragedy.

The defensive midfielder, who has joined on loan from Lyon in France, played every game of Brazil's 2010 World Cup campaign at left-back, but no longer features for the Selecao.

Bastos was reported to have been approached by Napoli, Spartak Moscow and Olympiakos having wanted to leave Lyon after his wife and five-year-old son were the victims of an armed robbery at their home in 2012.

Named after Uefa president Michel Platini, Bastos has said his guardian angel is his twin brother Daniel, who was killed on August 1, 1987, one day before their fourth birthday, after he was run over by a neighbour in a tragic accident.

"It's still an open wound on the heart of the whole family," said Bastos, who has his brother's named tattooed on his arm.

The player, who first came to Europe as an 18-year-old when he joined Feyenoord in 2001, trained with Schalke for the first time on Wednesday and could make his debut on Saturday at home to bottom side Greuther Fuerth.

"They are a big club with big ambitions, I jumped at the chance when I heard Schalke were interested in me," he said.

Bastos fell out of favour at Lyon this season with 12 French league appearances, but only five of those were over the 90 minutes.

He joins Schalke as a replacement for attacking midfielder Lewis Holtby, who joined Tottenham Hotspur on Monday, and is on loan with an option to buy.

Eligible to play in the Champions League, Bastos will be tasked with helping Schalke out of their current slump having dropped from second to sixth in the Bundesliga after just one win in their last seven league games.

"He can't wait to get started," said Schalke manager Horst Heldt. "He is fit and could start for us immediately.

"He has experience, will help the young team and he also has an incredibly good shot."

Heldt said Bastos will probably slot into the Schalke team for injured Dutch star Ibrahim Afellay.

"His favourite position is on the left wing, but he was at left-back for the Brazil team, sometimes on the right," said Heldt.

"Julian Draxler will be competing with Raffael for the central midfielder spot (vacated by Holtby), so we have more variation possibilities and new competition in defence."

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