PANAJI: In a first for Goan football, Romeo Fernandes has completed his loan move from Dempo Sports Club to Brazilian first division side Clube Atletico Paranaense, the I-League giants announced on Monday.
The attacking midfielder, who emerged as one of the stars in the Indian Super League while representing FC Goa, signed a contract with Paranaense on February 15. Dempo have agreed to loan the player until the end of June. Paranaense have been given the option to extend the contract till December, 2015 and later they can buy “substantial rights” for the player by compensating Dempo, who will also keep a stake in possible future transfers of Romeo.
Romeo, who is all set to leave for Brazil in a couple of days, said: “I am very happy with this move. I was always interested in going to Brazil and it’s like a dream come true. Of course, going abroad would help my further development. I hope this (deal) opens doors to other Indian players to go to Brazil.”
The deal was announced at a press conference attended by club boss Shrinivas Dempo, coach Arthur Papas and secretary Wilfred D’Souza. Addressing the presspersons Dempo said: “This is a great moment for me personally. This move fulfils one of the objectives we had set at the club.”
Dempo credited Papas, FC Goa coach Zico and former Dempo coach Armando Colaco for developing Romeo into a star player at the club.
“I remember the moment when Romeo was first spotted by our then coach Armando Colaco. He talked of him being the next big thing at the club. I have to congratulate Papas for the way he has handled him and developed him into such a fine product. Romeo then had the experience of getting coached by Zico (in ISL), who suggested he play in Brazil,” Dempo said. Dempo said that the club had ensured that Romeo will become “a better player” after this stint and that he will be in “safe hands” in Brazil.
“We sent 14 parameters to be met by Atletico Paranaense, like accommodation, cultural adaptability and salary. Their vice-president has assured me that Romeo will get the best facilities to train along with a coach who speaks English,” Dempo said. “Although Romeo was all ready to go to Brazil, we had to convince his family that the move was in his best interest. Once they agreed, we completed the transfer,” Dempo added.
According to the agreement, Romeo will get a chance to train with the Paranaense’s first division team and will be given a salary equivalent to what their Under-23 players receive. He would also be assured of some playing time, unlike most of the Indian players who have left the country to ply their trade abroad.
If Paranaense decide to renew Romeo’s contract till December, the attacking midfielder will be unavailable for the next edition of the ISL. From the beginning of the loan period all expenses will be borne by the Brazilian club and Dempo will be eligible to receive a transfer fee at the end of the loan period if Paranaense buy the player. Under the terms of the agreement Dempo will also be compensated if Paranaense sell Romeo to any other club after buying him.