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Soccer-Former champions Guangzhou confirm departure of Brazil-born quintet – Metro US

Soccer-Former champions Guangzhou confirm departure of Brazil-born quintet

Elkeson of China’s Guangzhou Evergrande gestures as he celebrates his
Elkeson of China’s Guangzhou Evergrande gestures as he celebrates his goal against Egypt’s Al Ahly during their FIFA Club World Cup soccer match, at Agadir Stadium in Agadir

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Eight-time Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou FC have confirmed the departure of their five Brazil-born naturalised Chinese players as the club continues to make cutbacks due to the financial difficulties of owners China Evergrande.

Elkeson, Ricardo Goulart, Alan Carvalho, Aloisio and Fernando Henrique have all had their contracts terminated by the club after “friendly negotiations”, Guangzhou said in a statement posted on social media.

“We sincerely thank these five players for all the honours and glory they have won for Guangzhou… and sincerely wish the five players all the best in the future,” the club said.

Elkeson won the Asian Champions League with Guangzhou in 2013 and 2015 while Goulart was a member of the 2015 continental championship-winning squad.

Both have already returned to Brazil, with Goulart joining Santos late last year.

All five players attained Chinese citizenship during a drive by authorities to increase the talent pool available to successive national team managers as the country sought to end a two-decade long absence from the World Cup.

Those moves, however, have made little difference to the fortunes of the national team, with China unable to qualify for the finals in Qatar despite two matches remaining in Asia’s preliminaries for this year’s finals.

China made their one and only World Cup appearance in 2002, when they lost all three of their matches in the group phase.

Speculation has grown over Guangzhou’s fate due to the financial struggles of majority owners China Evergrande, the embattled property developers.

The club were third in last year’s Chinese Super League, their lowest finish since earning promotion to the top flight in 2011.

Coach Fabio Cannavaro, who led the club to the title in 2019, quit midway through the season and the team is currently led by former China international Zheng Zhi.

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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