Marcio Passos de
Albuquerque might have been yet another case of a football player
who left Brazil young and ended his career unknown in his home
Instead the 32-year-old striker, better known as Emerson,
could win the Brazilian championship on Sunday for the third
time in three years with a third club.
"Imagine being champion three years running with three
different clubs, I don't know if I deserve it," Emerson said.
"It would be cool," he said in a recent TV interview.
"Here I am working for it, that's really the thinking... I do
want to be champion."
Emerson, who took his name after falsifying papers to appear
younger than he was early in his career, paid money from his own
pocket to return home in 2009 at the age of 30.
A leading goal-scorer in Japan and Qatar, where he took out
Qatari citizenship to play for their national team and is known
as Emerson Sheikh, he paid to break his own contract with Al
Sadd to be able join his favourite team Flamengo and went on to
help them win the Brazilian title.
After a brief spell in the United Arab Emirates, he returned
home again to join Fluminense and proceeded to help them win the
title last season, scoring the championship-clinching goal.
He joined Corinthians at the beginning of this year, played
for the reserves as he tried to overcome injury problems and
finally made it into the first team for the run-in.
In the closest title race since the championship was
modified into a 20-team first division in 2003, Corinthians have
67 points, Vasco 65 and Fluminense 62 after 36 matches.
Corinthians have reached the penultimate weekend as the only
team with a chance of winning the title with a match to spare
thanks to the winner Emerson laid on for former Brazil striker
Adriano in last Sunday's 2-1 victory over Atletico Mineiro.
They need to beat fifth-placed Figueirense away and hope
second-placed Vasco da Gama fail to win their Rio derby against
Fluminense, who are third.
Fluminense, who must win, hope their captain, Brazil striker
Fred, maintains the impressive scoring form which brought him
seven goals in their last two matches, four in a 5-4 win over
Gremio and a hat-trick in the 4-0 rout of Figueirense last
Vasco have already won the Copa Brasil knockout competition
and reached the South American second-ranked Copa Sudamericana
semi-finals this year. A win on Sunday would see the
championship race go to the wire the following weekend.
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