HANOI (Reuters) - After playing a half a game with Vietnam’s Hai Phong Cement FC, former Brazil international Denilson has shocked fans by quitting the team because of injuries, the Vietnam Football Federation said.
Denilson, once the world’s most expensive football player, scored a goal from a free kick in the first minutes of his only V-League appearance on Sunday to help Hai Phong Cement defeat former champions Hoang Anh Gia Lai 3-1 and snap a losing streak.
He sat out the second half when the coach recognised that a right leg injury was holding him back, the Vietnam News reported.
The VFF said he had quit the team on Tuesday and was planning to leave the country.
“One more time, fans were as shocked as his surprise appearance a few days ago,” the VFF report said.
Denilson had missed two earlier games, angering expectant fans, before making his debut on Sunday.
The Brazilian came to the northern Vietnamese port city earlier this month after months of cajoling and coaxing. The transfer delighted the mid-table V-League team’s fans, who welcomed the 31-year-old to practice in the port city with a motorcade of scooters, flags and flares.
But his swift exit was sure to rankle Hai Phong supporters, who are known for their rowdy behaviour.
Last Friday, the federation banned their fans attending away games if they wear clothes bearing the team’s symbols or name, the online news site vietnamnet.vn reported.
That decision came days after Hai Phong supporters clashed with paramilitary police in Hanoi when the team lost a match. Police used dogs and electric batons to disperse the crowd, while some fans fought back by hurling objects at the police lines.
Denilson was the subject of a world transfer record in 1998 when Real Betis paid more than $35 million (21 million pounds) to sign him.
The VFF report said the Brazilian’s contract only stipulated payment for matches he played.
He was paid $12,000 for the match and a $5,000 bonus for the goal, online newspaper Ngoisao.net reported.
Reporting by John Ruwitch and Nguyen Nhat Lam; Editing by Greg Stutchbury