RIO DE JANEIRO - Former Brazil full-back
Roberto Carlos ended his contract with Corinthians by mutual
agreement on Saturday and looked set to move to a Russian club.
The 37-year-old former Real Madrid defender was targeted by
fans during violent protests against the team following their
shock early exit from the Libertadores Cup last week.
"We gave him all our assurances (for his safety) here at
Corinthians. He has his own motives," Andres Sanches, president
of the Brazilian club, said.
"He's a guy of 38 already, he received a good offer from
abroad and by mutual accord we decided to free him," Sanches
Brazilian media said Roberto Carlos would be joining Anzhi
Makhachkala in Russia in a 5.0 million euros one-year deal.
They also said he had been made an offer by Los Angeles
Galaxy but for less.
Roberto Carlos, who was nursing a thigh injury, did not play
in Corinthians' 2-0 defeat away to Deportes Tolima of Colombia
10 days ago in the second leg of their Libertadores Cup
They went out 2-0 on aggregate having been held
0-0 at home in Sao Paulo in the first leg.
Since then he and captain Ronaldo, his team mate when Brazil
won the 2002 World Cup in Asia, have been the main targets of
fans' ire over Corinthians' failure to progress in South
America's Champions League equivalent which they have never won.
In one of the most violent protests, the team coach with
players on board was attacked by stone-throwing fans as it
arrived at the club's training grounds.
"Corinthians will be under pressure every day but none of
our players was hit... some things overstepped the limit a bit
and that of course makes things very difficult not only for the
players but also the club," Sanches said.
Roberto Carlos joined Corinthians at the beginning of 2010,
the club's centenary year, with a view to helping them win the
Libertadores Cup but the team were eliminated by fellow
Brazilian side Flamengo in the round of 16.
Despite that, he had a good season and was voted the best
left back of the Brazilian championship. He played 64 matches
and scored five goals.
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