Wagner Love has joined the ever-growing contingent of Brazilian soccer stars who are returning home from Europe. Love was sold by Russian club CSKA Moscow to Brazilian giants Flamengo for $12.9 million, according to Goal.com
“The most important thing was the will of the player,” Flamengo vice-president Michel Levy told Globoesporte. “He fought and was decisive. CSKA have money and did not need to sell him but Flamengo president [Patricia Amorim] was very fond of Love. I said I would return with him.”
The move concludes Love’s seven-year stay in the Russian capital. The 27-year-old striker joined CSKA in the summer of 2004 from Brazil’s Palmeiras. He was an instant hit, powering CSKA to the 2005 UEFA Cup (now Europa League). In doing so, it became the first Russian team to win a European competition. He scored 87 goals in 184 games (in all competitions) for CSKA.
Love spent the 2009-10 season playing on loan for two teams in his native Brazil. He first joined Palmeiras, but that loan ended after five months. He then moved to the team he supported as a boy, Flamengo, in January 2010.
Love has made 26 appearances for Brazil’s national team, scoring nine goals.
Brazilian soccer has benefited from the country’s growing economy. It won the right to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and is reportedly building new stadia, airports and other infrastructure improvements ahead of the tournament.
In recent years, top clubs have been able to pay salaries that entice stars like Love to return home from abroad. They are also able to hold onto talented young players for longer then they would have in years past — as Santos has done with its phenom Neymar.
Thumbnail photo via Flickr/rjmendera