Corinthians Jo regrets missed Everton opportunity
By Andrew Downie
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Former Manchester City and Everton striker Jo says he failed to make the most of his opportunities in the Premier League due to immaturity and a lack of focus.
The Brazilian joined Man City for a then club-record fee in 2008, but could not establish himself in the first team and then spent a topsy-turvy loan spell with Everton, before embarking on an itinerant career.
He is currently scoring freely for Corinthians, who are dominating Brazil's top flight at the half-way stage of the season.
The 30-year-old striker, in what he says is "the best moment of my career," is leading the goalscoring chart with 11 from 19 games.
Jo, who hopes his current form might earn him a Brazil recall after three years out of the side, looks back on his spell in England, however, as a missed chance with one incident at Everton a particular regret.
"There was an episode at Everton when I had hurt my ankle and I asked (then manager) David Moyes if I could come back to Brazil to speed up treatment," Jo told Reuters in an interview.
"I came back here and didn't have any treatment, I did other things," he said. "I told him I was fit to face Chelsea. I played from the start in London and I didn't play well at all. I was in pain and I hid it from him and he found out. And he was very angry."
The incident marked the beginning of the end of his spell on Merseyside. He returned to Manchester City before joining Galatasaray on loan and then returning to Brazil with Internacional.
"I had opportunities but I wasn't focused," he said after training on Wednesday at Corinthians HQ.
"I didn't take care of myself off the field. I didn't rest, I didn't train properly. It was immaturity. I thought it was just another club and just another moment in my career but it was a massive opportunity for me...
"I thought it was just another spell and that I would learn, but you have to take advantage. I thought, 'don't worry, I'll have another chance'. Sometimes you don't get another chance."
Jo got his career back on track at Atletico Mineiro, where, alongside Ronaldinho, he achieved cult status as the club won its first ever Copa Libertadores.
That was followed by spells in the UAE with Al Shabab and in China with JS Suning, before Corinthians brought him home last December.
The months since have been all about goals and glory as Sao Paulo's biggest club steam towards a seventh league title.
Fabio Carille, in what is his first-full-time coaching role, has turned Corinthians into a team that Jo believes is as organised as the best in Europe.
They are 19 games unbeaten in the league this season and have opened up a eight-point gap at the top, the biggest at the this stage since 2003. They have conceded just nine goals, while scoring more than all bar second-placed Gremio.
"Our strong point is our organisation," Jo said. "That tactical discipline is what you see in Europe and we have it."
(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Toby Davis)