Clarence Seedorf completed a rare footballing move over the weekend, swapping Serie ‘A’ life in Milan for Brazilian football with Botafogo.
It’s a path rarely trodden by European footballers, let alone a player who has won the Champions League four times, represented his country on 87 occasions and spent two decades at the highest level.
The first thought is that this must be a move motivated by money, but realistically Brazil can’t compete with the likes of China and Russia when it comes to mega-deals and huge contracts.
That said, Ronaldinho and Neymar won’t be playing for pittance, whilst Diego Forlan’s move to Internacional again suggests that there is cash floating around for top players in South America.
Whilst Seedorf is one of the first, the Dutchman does not believe he’ll be the last to make the switch, potentially opening the door for other players to follow.
"I might have opened the door for European players to consider coming to Brazil to play," said Seedorf in his first press conference.
"The level of Brazilian football is excellent, which is proven by the fact Brazilian players who go to Europe adapt very quickly. They obviously have a different mentality, a different game style, a different rhythm."
Another example of the improving league in Brazil is the fact that their top players are no longer leaving so quickly for European shores. Where Ronaldo and Ronaldinho had to move away to improve, the likes of Neymar, Lucas Moura and Ganso are all staying put to enhance their game.
That encourages a higher calibre of player to the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, and with the lure of the Copa Libertadores – the South American Champions League – top professionals now seem eager to test themselves on a different stage.
Forlan’s move is a real coup for the league, with the 33-year-old Uruguayan striker still an extremely hot property in world football, and a player wanted by numerous clubs before opting for the Beira-Rio.
It remains to be seen what type of long-term impact both he and Seedorf can have on the league in Brazil though, and the hope will be that more follow in their trailblazing footsteps.
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