Brazilian superstar's goal a reality

Updated: 2014-01-07 00:41

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily Latin America)

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Dario Conca is a soccer superstar. Fans have chanted his name in stadiums around the world, but the team that means most to him is his family. But that doesn't make leaving Guangzhou Evergrande, at the end of his contract, to return to Brazil, any easier.

Brazilian superstar's goal a reality
Dario Conca, Argentine soccer player

"Chinese fans have given me great support. But I have promised my wife I will go back to Brazil," Conca, 30, said.

The Argentine international decided to leave Guangzhou Evergrande for top Brazilian side Fluminense, after he helped them win the AFC Champions League on Nov 9.

Conca had a special parting gift for his Chinese fans when he scored in his last league match on Nov 3. His goal celebration saw him take off his shirt to a reveal a T-shirt with the message: "No matter where I am, you will always be on my mind."

The cup final, on Dec 7, was his last appearance for Guangzhou. Conca's son and wife were in the team's home stadium, Tianhe, to witness an emotional farewell.

"I have won many games and achieved glory at this stadium. But I have things to do in life. One of those things is to go back to Brazil with my family," Conca said.

Before he decided to leave at the end of 2012, Conca wrote a letter to the club's president, Liu Yongzhuo.

"I am thankful that I was able to spend time with my family in China, and that my son was born here," Conca said in the letter.

Conca's son, Benjamin, was born in March, 2012, in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.

"As a father, you know a baby brings much happiness and joy to a family. For me, the most important moment in my soccer career was to hold my baby on the pitch," he said.

Conca's talent and indefatigable spirit soon won the fans over and he was crowned "the king of Tianhe Stadium".

He rattled the net 33 times in 65 appearances during his stint with Guangzhou Evergrande since his move in July, 2011.

Xie Liang, a veteran soccer commentator with Radio Guangdong said Conca had made an incredible contribution.

"He always played a decisive role, either in domestic or international games, for the club. It is a great pity that he is leaving."

Conca will return to his former club, Fluminense, where he was named Player of the Year in Brazil in 2009. Conca was a key player in coach Marcello Lippi's battle plan to bring international glory to the Guangzhou side in 2013.

In the 2013 season, he scored 14 goals in 26 league appearances which ensured his club won the Chinese Super League title for the third time in a row.

Conca was named Chinese Football Association Footballer of the Year in November 2013.