Brazil league restarts with new signings keen to impress
16 July 2014, 22:29
Sao Paulo - The Brazilian first division starts again after its World Cup break on Wednesday with champions Cruzeiro in pole position but Corinthians and Sao Paulo are among the clubs keen to restart their truncated campaigns after making new signings.
The league got under way in April but was suspended after just seven weeks for the World Cup.
Cruzeiro top the table with 19 points from nine games, followed by Fluminense, Sao Paulo, Corinthians and Internacional, all of whom have 16 points.
The Belo Horizonte club have scored 18 goals, two more than any of their rivals, and their twin strikers Marcelo Moreno and Ricardo Goulart top the goalscoring charts with five apiece.
"We are going through a good phase and we're scoring goals, and I am looking to lay on as many as I can for them so they keep scoring," Everton Ribeiro, the midfielder voted player of the season last year by the league's professionals, told Cruzeiro's website (www.cruzeiro.com.br) ahead of their home match against third-bottom club Vitoria.
"It would be good to see our players top the goalscoring table but the most important thing is winning the title, which would be a recognition of our work."
Cruzeiro will face challenges from the two Porto Alegre clubs, Internacional and Gremio - in fifth and sixth place respectively - as well as the two Sao Paulo-based sides, both of whom will give debuts to new signings this week.
Sao Paulo could have big-name strikers Alexandre Pato and Alan Kardec in their side to face Bahia in Salvador. Pato had already played for them in the Brazilian Cup but should make his first league appearance alongside Kardec, who arrived from Benfica via a loan spell at Sao Paulo rivals Palmeiras.
Former AC Milan and Real Madrid player Kaka, who returned to the club last week on loan from Florida's Orlando FC, has also been added to the squad, but the 32-year-old is not yet fit for his debut.
Corinthians, meanwhile, have many reasons to look forward to the restart, both on and off the field. They play Internacional on Thursday at the Corinthians Arena, the ground built for the World Cup.
The stadium hosted six World Cup games, including the opener, and after 20,000 temporary seats are removed, the 48,000-seat venue will become their home ground.
Corinthians have bolstered their squad with young Paraguayan striker Angel Romero, Uruguayan international midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro, defender Anderson Martins and Elias, who returns to his former club after an unhappy spell at Sporting Lisbon.
"I'm more experienced now," Elias said shortly after signing a three-year contract.
"When I left I was a supporting actor. Now I am back as a protagonist. I won't be getting forward as often as I used to but I'll still get forward but with more quality and more precision."
The Brazilian league has 20 clubs and runs until December.