One of football’s greatest derbies this evening is set to have fans around the globe tuning in and World Cup excitement is growing every day…
… this in mind, MM have identified the top five Brazilians who failed to live up to their lofty reputations during their time in Manchester.
Brazil has produced some of the most iconic figures in the history of football from Pele to Ronaldo and countless others in between, given the five-times World Cup winners are renowned for their charisma, flair and passion for the beautiful game.
Nonetheless, Manchester remains a graveyard for talented South Americans with players often finding the transition from their sunny homeland to the rainy north west of England a rather difficult change to overcome.
An exception, so far this season, can be found in Manchester City’s midfield.
Eyebrows were raised when the £30million capture of Fernandinho, 28, was made official last summer.
But the former Shakhtar Donetsk man has become a central figure in the heart of City’s midfield this campaign, and he looks a shoe-in to be included for this summer’s World Cup in his native Brazil.
The fact remains, however, that the ratio of Brazilians making a success of their time here remains frighteningly in favour of those who flop. Here is who we consider the biggest five disappointments:
Full name: Maicon Douglas Sisenando
The burly wing-back arrived at Manchester City with fantastic pedigree after six trophy-laden years with Italian giants Internazionale. But Maicon failed to win the battle with Pablo Zabaleta at right-back and consequently left after just one season. City were also unable to recoup any of the £3million they splashed out on the veteran defender as his contract expired and he left on a free transfer. Since then, the Brazil international has regained his form by making 19 appearances and chipping in with two goals during an impressive season for Roma.
Full name: Robson de Souza
It is perhaps harsh on the current AC Milan forward to consider his entire time at City a disappointment – the former Real Madrid star was, arguably, the figure who put the club’s name on the world map following his arrival on deadline day of August 2008. It could even be argued that his signing was more of a statement of intent by the new Sheikh owners than any long-term plan they had in mind. Either way, his first season at Eastlands was relatively fruitful as he made a blistering start to his City career under Mark Hughes. The then-club-record signing netted on 12 occasions in his first 19 appearances for the Citizens, but his performances soon began to deteriorate after just a few months in Manchester. After falling down the pecking order and growing disillusioned about life at City, Robinho was sent on-loan to Santos in January 2010 before being sold to AC Milan six months later for £15million – a figure that represented a whopping £18million loss.
Full name: Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira
It remains unclear as to how much exactly Manchester United paid for Porto’s bright young star in the summer of 2007. The Portuguese side claimed they received €30million for their midfield prodigy, who failed to hit the heights he once promised in the Premier League. After falling out of favour with new boss David Moyes, and subsequently being shipped out on-loan to Fiorentina, the midfielder’s days at Old Trafford appear to be numbered. He will leave with an array of honours including four Premier League titles and a Champions League winner’s medal, but he failed to ever establish himself as a first-team regular during his six years in Manchester. A catalogue of injury problems and inconsistent performances restricted Anderson’s number of appearances, as he failed to make more than 20 league outings in any season excluding his first with United.
Full name: José Kléberson Pereira
Poetically, Kleberson beats Anderson to the runner-up spot of Manchester’s biggest Brazilian flop title. Hailed as the replacement for Juan Sebastian Veron, then national coach Luis Felipe Scolari declared, “[Kleberson] was always first name on the team list, ahead of players like Ronaldo.” But the midfielder left Scolari with egg on his face after he claimed Kleberson “would have no problems adapting to The Premiership.” The £6million signing from Atletico Paraenense made just 20 league appearances scoring two goals during an injury-ridden and generally vastly underwhelming two years at Old Trafford. He failed to get his career back on track upon leaving in August 2005 and is currently without a club following his release from Philadelphia Union last summer.
Full name: João Alves de Assis Silva
The award for Manchester’s biggest Brazilian flop goes to former City striker, Jô. The enigmatic forward was hot property at CSKA Moscow when Mark Hughes made him his first signing as City boss in an astronomical £18million deal. But, as is often the case with his fellow compatriots, the 21-year-old struggled to adapt to life in Manchester and made only 41 appearances for City – most of which came from the bench. City made another massive loss on their expensive Brazilian, but Jo has since proved to be a success in his home country with Internacional and Atletico Mineiro – he too looks set for a place in Brazil’s 23-man World Cup squad this summer.
Do you agree? Or, did Robinho float your boat? Could Anderson still be a United great? Have your say below.
Main image courtesy FussballFreestyle1 via YouTube, with thanks.