Rivaldo stuns AEK with news of move

The former Brazil striker Rivaldo stuns the Greek side by announcing that he is leaving the club after just one season to join an Asian team.

ATHENS // The former Brazil striker Rivaldo has stunned Greek side AEK Athens by announcing that he is leaving the club after just one season to join an Asian team. The 36-year-old did not name the club but Greek media reports indicated it was the Uzbekistan side Bunyodkor, who last month claimed they were in the hunt to sign Barcelona's Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o. "It was a difficult decision to make but I have received an offer that is very good for my career," the 2002 World Cup winner told Greek radio station Novosport FM today.

"I had a great time at AEK. I thank the president and the fans but the offer is very good for me and my family. "It is a very good proposal and I cannot turn it down. I would like to ask for a million apologies because there is so little time in the transfer window for the club to replace me but it was an exceptional proposal." AEK, however, insist that Rivaldo will not leave unless coach Georgos Donis can sign a replacement.

"Rivaldo wants to leave but in spite of what he says, he remains under contract to AEK until the end of this season and will only go if the club gets a replacement," a club spokesman said. "If he does go it will be with a transfer fee and not as a free transfer." AEK face Cypriot side Omonia in the second leg of their second round UEFA Cup qualifying tie on Thursday hoping to overturn a 1-0 deficit.

Rivaldo, who was a member of the Brazil side that won the World Cup in 2002, arrived in Greece in 2004 and spent three seasons at Olympiakos before moving to AEK at the start of the last campaign. *Reuters

Published: August 26, 2008 04:00 AM