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By ESPN Staff

Elber signs to play for Cruzeiro in January

BERLIN, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Former Brazilian international Giovane Elber will return to club football in his home country for the first time in 14 years having signed a contract with Cruzeiro, German newspaper Bild said on Wednesday.

Elber, who has played most of his career in Germany, has agreed an initial one-year deal with the first division side from Belo Horizonte starting on Jan. 2.

'It will be a big challenge for me to secure titles for Cruzeiro as I have in Europe and particularly in Germany,' Bild's website quoted Elber as saying.

Cruzeiro were Brazilian champions in 2003.

Elber agreed to terminate his contract with Borussia Moenchengladbach earlier this month after being slapped with a 10,000 euro ($11,920) fine for accusing the German club's coach of not telling the truth about his omission from the side.

The short and sparky striker, formerly of Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart, is the highest scoring foreign player in the history of the Bundesliga with 133 goals.

The highlight of the 33-year-old's career was his seven-year spell at Bayern, where he won four German league titles and the European Cup in 2001.

Elber joined Gladbach from Olympique Lyon on a free transfer in January 2005, but has been dogged by injuries.

He has made just four substitute appearances in the Bundesliga this season and not scored. His contract had originally run until the end of the season.