Player Profile: Muriqui

Ghangzhou Evergrande

TEAM: Guangzhou Evergrande


AGE: 31                                          

POSITION: Winger/Second Striker

Muriqui began his career in his native Brazil with Madureira after coming through their youth ranks. Despite not playing many games for his boyhood club, Muriqui was often loaned out to top Brazilian clubs like Vasco Da Gama and Avai. Though not very prolific, he was widely considered to be one of the best talents and prospects playing in the country.

In 2008, he made the permanent switch to Desportivo Brasil. He did not make a single league appearance and spent most of his time there away on loan. He spent time at Avai again and was one of the best players in the League during his spell there. The following season was spent at Atletico Mineiro.

It was after his spell at Atletico that Muriqui made the switch to China joining Guangzhou Evergrande when the club was in the China League One. Muriqui was the main man for Guangzhou as the club stormed to the second division title, returning to the Super League. Muriqui found the back of the net 13 times in just 14 appearances. It was his most prolific season individually.

Despite spending a lot of money on Cleo and Dario Conca, Muriqui remained a vital part of the club’s spine, scoring his first CSL goals in a 2-2 draw against Beijing Guoan. In August 2011, Muriqui was part of a brawl in a match against Liaoning Whowin. Disciplinary proceedings found the star man guilty of striking a player. A five match ban followed. In the aftermath of this incident, Muriqui announced his intentions of leaving the club but changed his mind after extensive talks with the club hierarchy.

Despite the ban, Muriqui finished the season as top scorer and fired Guangzhou to the Championship in 2011. His performances saw him win a deserved CFA Player of the Year award.

The following season saw more success for Muriqui and Guangzhou. Taking part in the AFC Champions League for the first time, Muriqui found the back of the net in the club’s first ever fixture in the competition. He also scored his first hat-trick for Evergrande in a CSL fixture against Jiangsu in June 2012. Muriqui was rewarded for his performances with a new contract that would keep him at the club till June 2016. In September of 2012, a bad tackle saw Muriqui’s League and Champions League season end prematurely after initial diagnosis ruled the talismanic Brazilian out of the season. But, Muriqui made his comeback in the FA Cup Final, helping his side to a win over Guizhou Renhe.

Muriqui started the 2013 season with a goal and an assist in the AFC Champions League. The goal made Muriqui the top scorer in Guangzhou’s history overtaking Luis Ramirez’s tally of 48 goals. Muriqui scored 6 goals in 5 Champions League matches before finding the net both of the round of 16 legs taking his tally to 8. He continued scoring for fun in the Champions League and ended the campaign as champion and broke the individual record for most goals in a season. Muriqui scored 13 times in a hugely prolific campaign. His performances saw him win the MVP award. Muriqui was equally prolific in the domestic campaign as Evergrande came home with their 3rd consecutive Super League title.

Muriqui was linked with a move to the Middle East prior to the start of the new campaign. Despite staying, Muriqui struggled with injuries. Muriqui did leave the club for Al-Sadd in Qatar as top scorer with 77 goals in 135 appearances. Guangzhou chairman, Liu Yongzhuo promised to re-sign him once his contract with Al-Sadd finished in 2017.

Muriqui spent a lot of his time at Al-Sadd on loan at Tokyo FC. He returned to Brazil with Vasco da Gama and made just 2 appearances before cancelling his contract there and making his dream return to Guangzhou in July 2017, signing a half-year contract.