- Striker writes online to explain his feelings in giving up Brazilian nationality in attempt to fire adopted country to World Cup
- Marcello Lippi’s squad begin road to Qatar 2022 against Maldives
Newly naturalised Chinese footballer Elkeson has written a heartfelt message to fans on his Sina Weibo account declaring "I am Chinese" and that he wants to repay their faith in him.
"Today, I want to tell the world," he wrote, "I officially opened a new journey, I am Chinese, I want to return all the love and care you have for me over the years. I hope to get your support as always."
The Guangzhou Evergrande striker was confirmed as part of Marcello Lippi's preliminary World Cup qualifying squad on Wednesday and he posted on his official account on the microblog to explain his feelings on changing from Brazilian to Chinese.
He said his arrival in China in 2013 was a "gamble" in his career but "the blueprint" at Guangzhou Evergrande convinced him he could write himself into history.
CFA published the 35-man preliminary squad for the WC qualifying match against Maldives on Sep. 10th: There is a new name Ai Kesen (艾克森), the Chinese name of Elkeson. It is consistent with the one on the Chinese citizenship application form circulated in Weibo last month. pic.twitter.com/wC1zFsVT0s
" Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) August 21, 2019
The post accompanies a photo of him being greeted on his arrival in China from Brazilian side Botafogo.
Elkeson lists his successes since moving to the Chinese Super League. At Evergrande he won three consecutive Chinese Super League titles and the AFC Champions League twice, with the team becoming the first Chinese Super League side to win it.
He also set the single-season CSL scoring record, which still stands, and won the league golden boot twice, as well as 2014 Player of the Year.
" But I want a new challenge," he wrote, "I want to see where my limits are." So he moved to Shanghai SIPG in 2016 and continued scoring goals, with his three years there including the club's first CSL title last season. "Another successful experience," he said.
Despite his success on the domestic and continental level, Elkeson said he is not done yet.
It's 100% now. https://t.co/hlk7vCtucX announced that Elkeson has been registered in China's 2022 World Cup qualifying squad. It seems Elkeson is set to make his China debut next month against Maldives in Male. A historical moment: the 1st non-Chinese naturalized athlete ever. pic.twitter.com/BS6BciUw2H
" Titan Sports Plus (@titan_plus) August 19, 2019
"I am still not satisfied because I want to repay the love of the Chinese people in these seven years. I am very happy and comfortable in China, here is my home."
This is why he took the challenge "without thinking", he said.
"I know that this is the next step I should take. Returning to Guangzhou Evergrande, returning to this club that opened the door to China's great country, joining Chinese nationality allows me to contribute to the national football team once again in the World Cup."
Elkeson could make his debut in China's opener against the Maldives on September 10.
It has been reported that the player has been practising the Chinese national anthem March of the Volunteers.
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