Home News Brazilian president deplores Europe stealing his country’s best players

Brazilian president deplores Europe stealing his country’s best players

Published on 05/09/2009

Brasilia -- Rules should be put in place to stop European clubs buying Brazil's best footballers during national championships, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said to AFP in an interview.

"The stadiums are emptying in Brazil, the games are less interesting, and I am preferring to watch English, Spanish, Italian championships. I’m even watching the Russian and Turkish ones. Soon I’ll be watching Kazakhstan’s," he said in his official Brasilia residence on Wednesday.

"Brazil 20 years ago was where the best football in the world was played. Today, the best football in the world is played in Spain, Britain, Italy, France, by players from Brazil, Argentina — Latin-American players," said the president, who declared himself a fan of Barcelona.

The problem was that Brazil’s clubs were unable to go through a national championship without their best players being transferred abroad.

That fate befell Lula’s favourite Brazilian club, Sao Paulo’s Corinthians, this year when four players were snapped up.

The Brazilian leader, a long time football fan, said he raised the problem with the national football federation boss, Ricardo Teixeira, and he would talk it over with FIFA chief Joseph Blatter when the latter visits Brazil on September 29.

A good solution would be to match the European and Brazilian football calendars, he said.

"I want a player who’s started a championship with one team to finish with that team,” he said. “After that, he can go. Because between championships there’s time to rebuild a team.”

While recognizing that many poor Brazilians dreamed of the riches European signings brought, "what worries me is that Brazil is losing its players when they’re 17 and they come back when they’re 32," Lula said. "Brazil can’t go on selling its kids and repatriating its retirees.”