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6 Brazilians who lit up UAE football…

As Fabio Lima and Caio Canedo continue to shine in the Arabian Gulf League, FourFourTwo Arabia looks at how they and four other countrymen have impacted the game across the Emirates

1. Ricardo Oliveira

A hero at Al Jazira after he joined in 2009. His 92 goals over 119 matches and five years helped the “Pride of Abu Dhabi” to a much coveted league and President’s Cup double in 2010-11. In the Cup final, Oliveira scored the second goal in 4-0 thrashing of Al Wahda, and a year later he helped AL Jazira retain the trophy. In 2014 he left for a short spell at Al Wasl returning to Brazil. Played 16 times for his country, scoring five times.

 

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2. Grafite

After four successful seasons at Wolfsburg in Germany, during which he helped the club to a Bundesliga title, Grafite joined Al Ahli in the summer of 2011. Another four brilliant seasons followed. Grafite scored 86 goals as Al Ahli won the league (2013-14), two League Cups (2011, 2014) and a President’s Cup (2013). Arguably Al Ahli’s finest ever import, he also represented Brazil four times.

 

3. Edgar Bruno

The towering Brazilian’s four seasons (2012-2016) in the UAE saw him spend three years at Al Shabab before moving to Al Wasl for one term. He enjoyed his best years in the green of Al Shabab, winning the GCC Champions League in 2015. But he will always be defined by performance in the 2013 President’s Cup final against Al Ahli. Bruno scored two goals to keep his side in the game but heartbreakingly deflected a late cross into his own net to give Al Ahli a dramatic 4-3 win.

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4. Everton Ribeiro

At only 25, his decision to join Al Ahli in 2015, rather than one of a host of interested European club’s, was a game-changer for the Arabian Gulf League. It signaled arguably the moment that the domestic league stopped being a retirement home for fading foreign players, and became a destination for young talent. Having already been capped by Brazil (he also played in the 2015 Copa America), he enjoyed two fruitful seasons at Al Ahli, winning a league title (2015-16), and leading the club to an AFC Champions League final in 2015.

 

5 & 6. Caio Canedo and Fabio Lima

A deadly double act. Both arrived in the 2014-15 season, both on loan; Fabio Lima from Vasco da Gama, and Caio Canedo from Internacional. They haven’t stopped scoring since. Their goals took Al Wasl to second place in the Arabian Gulf League last season, and to the 2018 AFC Champions League. Above all they now have Al Wasl fans dreaming of a first league title since 2006-07. The Cheetahs are currently in second place, only one point behind Al Ain, while Lima and Canedo are first and third in the scoring charts with 15 and 11 goals respectively.

 

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