Valdivia decides to stay in Brazil after abduction

Valdivia decides to stay in Brazil after abduction

Published Jun. 16, 2012 5:14 p.m. ET

Palmeiras' Chile international Jorge Valdivia says he will keep playing in Brazil despite learning his wife was sexually molested during the couple's abduction 10 days ago in Sao Paulo.

Valdivia said Saturday he remains emotionally shaken by the ordeal and his wife wants them to move back to Chile, but Palmeiras says it won't let him go without being financially compensated.

Valdivia, who played at the 2010 World Cup, was one of Palmeiras' most expensive signings in 2010 and is one of its star players.

The midfielder and his wife were abducted at gunpoint on June 7 while trying to rent a movie at a shopping center in an affluent area of South America's biggest city.


The couple spent ''three hours of terror'' with the criminal, who inappropriately touched Valdivia's wife when the player left the car to withdraw money for the robber. Valdivia's wife, Daniela, only told him she was molested after the couple had returned to Chile.

Valdivia said the robber constantly pointed a gun at their heads, saying he was going to kill them.

''Even though I'm still emotionally shaken, I don't want to be a nuisance to the team with this story about whether I'll leave or I'll stay,'' Valdivia told Palmeiras' website on Saturday. ''On the contrary, I want to help Palmeiras in this decisive match against Gremio (in the Brazilian Cup) and in our reaction in the Brazilian league.''

Palmeiras is in the semifinals of the Brazilian Cup. It beat Gremio 2-0 in the first leg in the southern city of Porto Alegre. The return match at home is next week in Sao Paulo and a draw or a 1-0 loss will be enough for Palmeiras to advance to the final. The eight-time national champion is second-to-last in the Brazilian league after four rounds.

Valdivia practiced with his teammates on Friday for the first time since the abduction occurred.

''We understand this is a difficult moment for Valdivia,'' club director Cesar Sampaio said. ''But we discussed and reached a conclusion that it will help him to be with his teammates and to get back to his routine.''

The 28-year-old Valdivia had told Chilean media that he was unlikely to keep playing in Brazil, but on Thursday he said he still hadn't made a decision about leaving Palmeiras and needed to meet with team officials to try to find a solution. His contract with the club runs until August 2015.

Brazilian media reported that some Chilean clubs showed interest in signing Valdivia, but the player's high salary and transfer fee would be an obstacle to any deal.

Palmeiras said it could talk to Valdivia again after the Brazilian Cup ends to discuss whether an agreement could be reached for his departure.

Valdivia said he would try to convince his wife to return to Brazil but admitted that it wouldn't be easy because she was afraid their attacker may target them again once he is set free.


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