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Barreto hints at Bagan return

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May 29, 2006 21:46 IST

Mahindra United striker Jose Ramirez Barreto said on Monday that he would move to Mohun Bagan next season to help the Kolkatan outfit end their drought of trophies.

"I am going to Mohun Bagan. I have to sign the contract before the 15th of next month," the Brazilian said disclosing that he is moving on a one-year contract.

Barreto's transfer from Mumbai to Kolkata had become a prestige issue between the two outfits, who were both ready to shell out a good amount to keep the star footballer with them.

But the Brazilian's decision was influenced by the fact that there was a change in the management at the Mohun Bagan who are planning a strong team for the National Football League next season.

"I am happy with Mahindras. It's great. We got a lot of titles. They [Bagan] have no trophies in last few years. I am happy with Mahindras but I like to be helpful.

"They want to make a very good team for the next season, with good management," he said on the sidelines of a World Cup soccer related function.

Barreto was Bagan's key player in the 2001-02 season, before leaving the club due to a payment dispute.

"It is difficult to make a long-term contract for a footballer. I am easy with one-year. Sometimes you can't even say about one month," said Barreto, who is slated to leave for his home in a couple of days on a two-month break.

He also said the pay structure for foreign players in the NFL is still "far from desired".

The 29-year-old believes his stint in India is God's gift to him and he would always prefer to play for India than anyone else, including his own country.

"Something happened in 1999. I turned a believer. Since then my thinking and attitude became very different. I started believing in Jesus. I feel that he guides me on every occasion.

"A few months after that I came to India. So I take it as a gift of God. I prefer to concentrate on playing in India than anywhere else because I think this is God's wish," said Barreto.

Approaching his 30s, Barreto said he felt nice to be "more experienced as a footballer but that's not the case with the body and that's really strange."

On the upcoming World Cup, Barreto said defending champions Brazil are the favourites to win the title once again.

"They have the mindset to win any game. They do not think about losing. Brazil was a disaster in 1998. But sometimes you have to fail to learn something," he said.

Asked about the weakness of Brazil team, Barreto said: "defence and goalkeeping are the areas in which they needed to work on. Defence is their weakness and so is goal keeping."

He also said Portugal, England and Argentina would be among the best teams in the month-long tournament beginning on June 9 while Ivory Coast are capable to springing a surprise.

"Portugal are in high spirits and England are very confident. Ivory Coast have done well in the qualifiers," he said adding in lighter tone that: "Argentina would be out in the first round itself."

"Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Gerhard and Lampard are among the players to be watched in Munich," he said.


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