Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Brazil Boom a Real Bonus ; as All Eyes Turn to South America Ahead of the World Cup, United and City Will Be Hoping to Reap Rewards of Soccer Feeding Frenzy

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Brazil Boom a Real Bonus ; as All Eyes Turn to South America Ahead of the World Cup, United and City Will Be Hoping to Reap Rewards of Soccer Feeding Frenzy

Article excerpt

BRAZIL has long been the world's greatest exporter of football talent but not a single Brazilian had played for either Manchester club a decade ago.

That changed when United signed 2002 World Cup winner Kleberson in 2003, and since then the Reds have acquired Anderson, Rodrigo Possebon, Rafael and Fabio da Silva, with mixed results.

City's first Brazilian was Giovanni, once of Barcelona and latter of Hull City, in 2007. Elano, Jo, Robinho and now Maicon have fols lowed for the Blues, again with varied success.

Fireworks lit the sunny morning sky of Maicon's hometown of Novo Hamburgo in Southern Brazil on Sunday morning.

Sao Paulo side Corinthians, based 500 miles to the north, had just been crowned world champions after defeating Chelsea and parties erupted all over Brazil.

The Club World Cup is a far bigger deal in Brazil than it is in Europe and 22,000 Corinthians fans travelled to Yokohama - half the world and 24 hours' flying time away.

Chelsea took 700 to the stadium where United were crowned world champions in 2008.

United will return there next year, not for the Club World Cup, which will be played in Morocco, but a friendly against Yokohama F Marinos on July 23 or 26, though the club are still to confirm the match.

The game is unlikely to see scenes like on Sunday as Corinthians registered the largest-ever intercontinental away following for a football club but then players like Carlos Tevez know how passionate the fans of his former club are.

Tevez played in Brazil before moving to England. He was typical of the best players in moving to Europe, where the wages were higher, but Brazil's economy is booming - how else could so many fans afford to travel to Japan two weeks before Christmas? - and players are returning home ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Ronaldo returned to Brazil to play for Corinthians in 2009, while Ronaldinho, Robinho, Jo and Elano have all come home on wages comparable to those in Europe. Former Red Diego Forlan is at Inter in Porto Alegre, not far from his home country of Uruguay.

New stadiums are being built, crowds are growing and Brazilian football is feeling very satisfied with Corinthians' success. …

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