LOL: A Brazilian soccer fan paid his team $186,000 so that a key player could feature in a crucial match

a man holding a football ball: Rodinei is on-loan at Internacional from Flamengo. Getty/Buda Mendes Rodinei is on-loan at Internacional from Flamengo.

A fan of a Brazilian soccer team who paid his club $186,000 so that one of his team’s key players could feature in a derby match saw his gamble backfire spectacularly on Sunday as the player was sent off and the team lost.

According to ESPN, on Friday, Internacional supporter Elusmar Maggi Scheffer paid the club the hefty sum of one million reals ($186,000) as a no-strings attached gift, but is understood that he gave the money to ensure that star player Rodinei was cleared to play against Flamengo.

“Internacional this Friday received a 1 million real donation from Elusmar Maggi Scheffer,” the club said in a statement, adding that Scheffer attached no terms to the donation. Rodinei, a defender, was not supposed to play due to the fact he is on-loan at Internacional from Flamengo.

Generally speaking, loaned players aren’t allowed to play against their parent clubs, but Rodinei’s contract had a clause saying that if Internacional paid one million reals to Flamengo, he could do so.

Going into the tie, Inter was top of Brazil’s Serie A table, one point ahead of Flamengo with two games to go. A win would have secured the club’s first title since 1979.

Scheffer had hoped Rodinei’s inclusion would have made that a certainty, but just after half-time, with the scores tied at 1-1, the 29-year-old was sent off for a clumsy tackle on Flamengo’s Filipe Luis. 

Flamengo then swiftly took advantage, with Gabriel Barbosa scoring his sixth goal in as many games in the 63rd minute to secure his side a 2-1 victory.

The win moved Flamengo one point ahead of Inter, and means it can now secure the Serie A title with victory over São Paulo FC on February 26. 

After the game Inter manager Abel Braga called Rodinei’s sending off unjust. “Rodinei’s heel is on the floor, he had the ball under control,” he said, adding that even the Flamengo players thought it was only a yellow card.

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