x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

UAE third-most popular destination for Brazilian footballers

A Fifa report published Wednesday said Brazilians are the most transferred in the world, with the UAE's 34 Brazilian players in the 2013 calendar year counting as the third-most globally.

Al Ahli's Grafite is one of 14 Brazilians playing in the Arabian Gulf League. Ashraf Umrah / Al Ittihad
Al Ahli's Grafite is one of 14 Brazilians playing in the Arabian Gulf League. Ashraf Umrah / Al Ittihad

Foreign clubs are still showing an insatiable appetite for Brazilian players while Argentines appear to be going out of fashion, according to a Fifa report on the global transfer market published on Wednesday

The report said that of 12,309 international transfers registered worldwide last year, 13 per cent, or 1,558, involved Brazilian players, either leaving their country, returning home or moving between other nations.

“No nationality in the global transfer market is more mobile than the Brazilian nationality,” the report said.

“What is striking is the diversity of Brazilian players’ mobility patterns. By now, most countries appear to have some sort of affinity for engaging Brazilian players.”

Portugal (106 players), Japan (50), the United Arab Emirates (34), South Korea (30) and Hungary (28) were the most popular destinations for Brazilians, rather than the traditional markets such as Spain and Italy.

Poland was also becoming popular with 20 Brazilian players moving there last year following a change in that country’s citizenship laws.

Meanwhile, 672 Brazilian players returned home from foreign clubs last year, again the highest of any country.

“This shows not only that the volume of transfers involving Brazilian players is high, but that Brazilian clubs’ rising revenues are able to lure many players back to Brazil,” the report said.

The paper added that Brazilians off all ages were involved and only eight percent were under 21. “Brazil does not function simply as a type of youth academy for other leagues,” it said.

Argentina had the second highest number of players transferred with 695 while Uruguay, with a population of only 3.3 million, was seventh with 350.

However, the number of Argentina players involved in international transfers went down by 91, the biggest decrease compared to 2012.

The countries of the former Yugoslavia also pulled above their weight in the international transfer market and Serbia was eighth in the table with 335 players involved in international moves, 47 more than the previous year.

“Talented players from the region remain in demand internationally,” said the report, although it added this was also due to problems in Serbian domestic football including crime and hooliganism.

There are 14 Brazilians – Grafite (Al Ahli), Ciel (Al Ahli), Rogerio (Al Dhafra), Jucilei da Silva (Al Jazira), Eder (Al Nasr), Leonardo Lima (Al Nasr), Edgar Bruno (Al Shabab), Ricardo Oliveira (Al Wasl), Luiz da Silva (Emirates), Wanderley (Emirates), Jair (Emirates), Mauricio Ramos (Sharjah), Ze Carlos (Sharjah) and Fellype Gabriel (Sharjah) – that currently play in the Arabian Gulf League.

Michel Bastos, Bruno Correa and handful of others have transferred out of the league this season.

Additionally, Brazilians Marcos Paqueta (Al Shabab), Paulo Comelli (Emirates) and Paulo Bonamigo (Sharjah) coach Emirati sides.