Monday, 8 June 2009

Ex-Brazil international Denilson fails to make Vietnam debut

HANOI, Vietnam — Denilson, once the world's most expensive footballer, failed to make his club debut in Vietnam amid speculation that he might be injured.

The ex-Brazil international signed last week to play for the mid-table Haiphong Cement Football Club in the topflight V-League. He had been expected to play top-ranked Danang on home turf on the weekend, but he was not even on the list of substitutes.

"Nearly 30,000 fans packed the Lach Tray stadium eager to see the Brazilian star make his debut," Ngo Duy Ho, deputy director of sports department of the northern port city, said by telephone. "They were hugely disappointed."

Haiphong lost 2-0 to Danang.

Ho quoted club officials as saying Denilson's health did not allow him to play until after June 15.

He declined to be specific about Denilson's health problem, and club officials were not available for comment.

Monday's Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper quoted an unnamed doctor at a local hospital where Denilson had his right knee and foot scanned as saying the Brazilian player had damaged a foot tendon and cartilage in his right knee.

The paper quoted the doctor as saying Denilson needs at least a month of rest before returning to training after surgery.

There are more than 100 foreign footballers contracted to Vietnamese clubs, but Denilson is easily the most famous.

He became the world's most expensive player when he moved from Sao Paolo to Spain's Real Betis in 1998.

Earlier this year, the 31-year-old forward, renowned for his flamboyant dribbling skills, had a tryout with the English Premier League club Bolton Wanderers after being released by Brazilian side Palmeiras but wasn't considered fit enough.

Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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