Football News

Fernandinho rejoins Athletico Paranaense, but which other stars who tore up Europe are currently playing in Brazil?

By Ben Green

Published: 14:47, 28 June 2022

Former Manchester City captain Fernandinho has returned to boyhood club Athletico Paranaense, 17 years after he left the Brazilian club.

The 37-year-old departed the Etihad at the end of last season after claiming his fifth Premier League title, ending a near-decade of domestic dominance for City, in which he appeared just shy of 400 times for the club and claimed 13 trophies.

“We had numerous proposals, from several different clubs, from Brazil and abroad,” Fernandinho explained at his Athletico Paranaense unveiling on Monday.

“But the most sensible decision was to return home and try to give my best here at Athletico now.”

The veteran midfielder now joins a long list of players who tore it up in Europe before returning to Brazil to see out their respective careers, some of whom you may have forgetten were still strutting their stuff across the pond.

Fernandinho will be linking up Brazil-born Ukraine international Marlos at Athletico Paranaense, who turned out for the City man’s former club Shakhtar Donetsk for seven years between 2014 and 2021, regularly appearing in the Champions League during that time.

Elsewhere, reigning Brazilian champions Atletico Mineiro currently have Hulk on the books. The Adonis-built forward enjoyed succesful stints at Porto and Zenit, before relocating to the Far East with Shanghai SIPG and returning to Brazil in 2021. They also have one-time QPR forward Eduardo Vargas in their squad.

Over in Sao Paulo, former Tottenham and Barcelona midfielder Paulinho is back at Corinthians, whom he left for Spurs in 2013. He now calls former Arsenal winger Willian a team-mate, as well as another Brazil-born Ukraine international in Junior Moraes.

Head to Rio de Janeiro and you’ll find Diego Alves, Filipe Luis and David Luiz turning out for Flamengo. Some prominent team-mates who also tested their luck in Europe include ex-Lille midfielder Thiago Maia, former Inter and Benfica forward Gabriel Barbosa, Mauricio Isla, Bruno Henrique and Everton.

Staying in Rio de Janeiro and Fluminense boast veteran forward Fred, now 38, and 39-year-old Felipe Melo, as well as former wonderkid Ganso, who had a short spell with Sevilla and Amiens before upping sticks and jetting back to Brazil.

Elsewhere, Wesley Moraes is on loan at Internacional from Aston Villa, who have Shakhtar Donetsk legend Taison as their skipper and his former team-mate in Ukraine Alan Patrick. On top of that former Milan defender Gustavo Gomez plays for Palmeiras, while Santos have Leo Baptistao and Maicon (the Porto one).

Finally, West Ham flop Jonathan Calleri is the current top scorer in Brazil’s top flight with Sao Paulo, who also have former Italy international Eder leading their line.