European elite reluctant on South American move
Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that he would like to play in Brazil when his sensational Spanish league career with Real Madrid finally comes to an end.
Los Blancos, 11/4 with Coral to win the Champions League, won their record 10th European Cup last year, thanks massively to Portuguese superstar Ronaldo.
The Ballon d’Or winner, previously of Manchester United, has been linked with a move back to the Premier League, but Ronaldo has declared his desire to play in Brazil before he hangs up his boots.
“Corinthians and Flamengo are two famous clubs, I would gladly dress in one of their shirts,” Ronaldo said. “In Brazil I have many friends, so my relationship with the country is very good. At Real I have passed many Brazilians, with Kaka one of the people I respect most of all.”
Despite the 29-year-old’s comments, there is a distinct lack of European footballers making the move to South America.
A host of world class South American stars have all played in Europe’s top leagues including Kaka, Ronaldinho and Sergio Aguero, although it is a rarity that any Europeans ply their trade in the opposite direction.
The top sides in South American football are losing out on their most prestigious young talent to the European giants, with Brazil star and skipper Neymar a prime example after joining Barcelona, with top European players reluctant to fill the void.
However, there have been names that represent European countries who went on to establish themselves in top-flight divisions across Argentina, Brazil and beyond.
Former AC Milan, Inter Milan and Real Madrid midfielder Clarence Seedorf ended his trophy-laden career with Rio de Janeiro outfit Botafogo last year.
Seedorf won an amazing four Champions League titles with three different clubs during spells across Europe’s top-flight divisions, including Serie A and La Liga, having wore the famous orange of the Netherlands at international level. The arrival of such a high-profile player undoubtedly raised the reputation of Brazil’s highest division, and his links with the country go further, with his wife having been born in Paramaribo.
Lutz Pfannenstiel, a well-travelled West German goalkeeper, had a spell in Brazil for Hermann Aichinger. The controversial character is one of few names to have moved to South America during their career, having also famously played for a total of 25 different clubs around the world, and became the only ever player to have turned out in all six FIFA confederations.
Former France forward David Trezeguet, who recently announced his retirement from the game, signed a one-year deal for Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina in 2013. The highly-decorated striker is of Argentinian descent and also played for River Plate for a spell later in his career, the club he supported as a young boy.
Florent Malouda was on the verge of signing for Brazilian outfit Vasco da Gama before making a move to Turkey instead. The former France international featured for Chelsea during a six-year stint in the Premier League, scoring 35 goals in 149 outings for the Blues. Possibly the highest-profile name to have almost joined a top-flight South American side is former Manchester United and Madrid midfielder David Beckham. The retired Englishman was close to sealing a deal to play in South America, but instead opted to join MLS franchise LA Galaxy.
There is no doubt that European players are reluctant to make a long trip to South America, but in 2010 a virtually unknown player from Lincolnshire, Seth Burkett, became a national celebrity after playing for Brazilian fifth division outfit Sorriso EC in a cup game against top-side Palmeiras.
Ronaldo is arguably the biggest name in world football, and a future in South America could be on the cards after his reign in Spain. Madrid are odds-on 2/5 to win La Liga this season.