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

social media.

”It’s not about money,” Santos said, according to

GloboEsporte.com. ”He has a family. It’s about an

opportunity.”

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

transfer.

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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