Botafogo fans upset with young player’s transfer
Clarence Seedorf’s Botafogo is getting heat from its supporters
because of the imminent transfer of the team’s most promising star
in the middle of its title run in the Brazilian league.
After the announcement that 19-year-old sensation Vitinho is set
to join CSKA Moscow, fans quickly took to social media to express
their disappointment and some wrote complaint messages on the walls
of the team’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.
The messages attacked the team’s president and even the player,
calling him a ”mercenary.”
The complaints prompted Vitinho’s wife to defend the player and
say it was an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up.
The transfer comes with Botafogo in contention for its first
Brazilian league title since 1995. Led by Seedorf, the team is
second in the 20-team standings near the halfway point.
Police had to be called in to keep the group of fans from
causing more damages at the team’s headquarters late Monday night.
Local media reported that the windows of the team’s official shop
also were painted.
”The love is over,” said one of the messages, below a series
of dollar signs painted on the wall of the headquarters.
Vitinho’s wife, Thayane Santos, ranted against the critics on
”It’s not about money,” Santos said, according to
GloboEsporte.com. ”He has a family. It’s about an
Vitinho, who has a young daughter with Santos, was expected to
leave the country on Tuesday to undergo a physical before signing
with the Russian club.
CSKA reportedly is paying (euro) 10 million ($13.4 million) for
the talented striker, who has been considered one of the
tournament’s top players so far.
Former Botafogo president Carlos Augusto Montenegro, who is
still influential at the club, said there was little that could be
done to avoid the transfer, especially because several agents were
pushing for the transaction. The club is expected to keep 60
percent of the transfer fee, with the rest going to Rio de Janeiro
club Audax, which is where Vitinho started playing.
”It all happened really fast,” Montenegro told local Radio
Tupi. ”The Russian club is willing to pay the buyout clause. There
is not a lot that we can do.”
Montenegro said the high salary being offered to the player also
played a decisive role. He said the youngster started the year
earning 15,000 reals ((euro) 4,700; $6,300) per month, then got a
raise to 35,000 reals ((euro) 11,000; $14,700) and was promised to
get 200,000 reals ((euro) 63,000; $84,300), but CSKA reportedly
offered about 500,000 reals ((euro) 157,500; $210,700).
Botafogo has been struggling financially despite the recent
success on the field, and players reportedly have been facing
salary delays of up to two months.
Since winning the Rio de Janeiro title earlier this year,
Botafogo has already sold three other players – Fellype Gabriel,
Jadson and Andrezinho.
”It’s football, we have to move on,” Montenegro said.
Part of the money from those transactions was blocked by
Brazilian authorities because of the team’s debts, and there were
fears the same could happen to the money coming from Vitinho’s
Although Vitinho’s transfer hadn’t been made official, the
striker had already been removed from Botafogo’s squad that will
play a Brazilian Cup match against Atletico Mineiro on Wednesday.
Vitinho scored one of Botafogo’s goals in the 4-2 first-leg victory
in the competition’s round of 16 last week.
FC Porto and Turkey’s Galatasaray reportedly had also showed
interest in the Brazilian youngster.
Vitinho had scored four goals in this year’s Brazilian league
and had been receiving a lot of praise from Seedorf, the Dutch star
midfielder who took over the team’s leadership after arriving in
Brazil last year.
Botafogo is one of the four traditional clubs in Rio de Janeiro
but it hasn’t won a significant national title since the 1995
Brazilian championship. It hasn’t contended for the league title in
a long time and now it’s only two points behind leader Cruzeiro
after 16 of 38 rounds. Its next Brazilian league match is against
Sao Paulo on Sunday.
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