Denilson looking to cement his status in Vietnam
Denilson, once the world's most expensive soccer player, will rocket Cement FC to the top of the Vietnam league, his jubilant coach said, but the World Cup winner has made it clear he is only here for the love of the game - and the money.
Months of cajoling and coaxing finally paid off for Hai Phong Cement FC when they sealed a deal to bring the Brazilian to Vietnam.
The transfer delighted the mid-table V-League's fans, who welcomed the 31-year-old to practice in the port city on Monday with a motorcade of scooters, flags and flares.
"Denilson Oliveira will be a new cannon for Coach Vuong Tien Dung for the fight on the V-League battelfield," the Vietnam Football Federation said in a statement on its website.
Denilson, the subject of a world transfer record in 1998 when Real Betis paid more than $35m to sign him, said he had ultimately decided to play in Vietnam because of his passion for the game, and the money.
"I'm 31-years-old and I want to stay in Vietnam for a long time," he was quoted as saying.
Do Dai Duong, chief executive of team sponsor Cement Hai Phong Corp, was quoted as saying by the VFF that Denilson's pay under the one-year contract was confidential.
But it was "much higher" than the $10,000 per month that Vietnam's current highest paid footballer Lee Nguyen earns.
Denilson, who will wear number 99, will get his first taste of Vietnamese soccer on Saturday when Hai Phong Cement play Danang, the number one team in the first half of the season, the newspaper Saigon Giai Phong reported.