The spending in the Chinese Super League has seemed over the top for many people in the last two years. Guangzhou Evergrande has been a big part of that, signing Jackson Martinez and Paulinho for big sums.
This time they’ve done it a little differently.
They’ve brought back fan favourite, Brazilian striker Muriqui. On a free.
The 31-year-old cancelled his contract with Brazilian team Vasco da Gama to return to the Chinese Super League after a three-year spell away. He has signed a six-month contract with the option to extend it further, should both parties wish to do so.
A statement on the club’s website read:
“Guangzhou Evergrande is pleased to announce the re-signing of the club’s legendary player, Muriqui. Muriqui is joining the club as a free agent and the contract is valid for six months, with the option to extend.
“Muriqui contributed significantly to the club’s 2010 China League One win, the Chinese Super League championships from 2011 to 2013, the CFA Cup and Super Cup in 2012 and the Asian Champions League in 2013.
“He has been awarded the Chinese Super League MVP, the Chinese Super League, and the Asian Champions League top scorer, as well as the AFC’s best foreign player in 2013. He is widely recognised as a Guangzhou Evergrande legend.”
The statement continued:
“At this late stage in the summer transfer window, and after full consideration of all aspects of the team and in order to maintain our target of winning four trophies this season, head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has proposed to bring back the versatile veteran, who also knows the club very well.
“When Muriqui received the invitation from his second home, he cancelled the contract with the club he was serving at the time. He has joined the club as a free player with a very flexible contract. We believe that Muriqui will repay the club and the fans with his passion and effort.”
Muriqui previously played for the Super League giants from 2010 to 2014 and is the club’s second all time leading scorer with 77 goals, just beaten by another current Evergrande player, Gao Lin, who has 93 goals.
He left the club halfway through the 2014 season to join Al Sadd of Qatar, but not until he also managed to become the Chinese Football Association Footballer of the Year in 2011 as well as the top scorer in both the Super League and the FA Cup, in addition to the awards mentioned in the statement from the club.
Muriqui could make his second debut for Evergrande tomorrow as they face city rivals Guangzhou R&F for the Canton derby in the FA Cup.