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Romeo Fernandes' fall from grace: From Atletico Paranaense to an uncertain future

  • In terms of hype, he should be challenging Sunil Chettri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. yet, he is close to slipping away into anonymity.
olive paul
Modified 01 Dec 2019, 19:33 IST

Romeo Fernandes
Romeo Fernandes' move to Brazil was labeled as a PR move rather than for footballing reasons.

In 2014, Romeo Fernandes rose to prominence after a prolific ISL season for FC Goa, in which he scored three goals and had two assists in 11 games.

This led to interest from the Brazilian side Atletico Paranaense. Brazilian footballing legend Zico who coached FC Goa in the ISL was highly impressed by Fernandes’ pace and dribbling skills. On his recommendation, the Brazilian side offered Fernandes a contract.

But in the 4 years since signing that contract, nothing has worked out as planned. Fernandes was meant to have a memorable stint at Atletico Paranaense but after just five months, the winger returned to India. During his five-month stint in Brazil, Fernandes managed just 21 minutes of playing time.

Returning to India to revive his career after his footballing wilderness, the media were quick to label it as a cynical marketing ploy by Atletico Paranaense to tap into the Indian market.

Brazil legend Zico personally recommended the winger to Atletico Paranaense.
Brazil legend Zico personally recommended the winger to Atletico Paranaense.

Since his return to India, Fernandes’ confidence seems to have been shattered. Across a four-year spell, Fernandes’ game time has shrunk, with a handful of goals here and there failing to restore any sense of confidence.

It’s a shame because he’s still only 27 and should be approaching the peak of his powers. Instead, he has become a byword for over-promotion and unfulfilled potential. In terms of hype, he should be challenging Sunil Chettri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu yearly for the top honours at the All India Football Federation's AIFF Awards, but it was not to be.

Fernandes moved countries and continents to pursue his dream to play in Brazil’s top flight. His story is one of the thousands of footballers who, despite showing early potential, failed to live up to the hype.

It’s a mystery why his playing days went off the rails. In hindsight, probably his choice of club hindered his cause. Rather than going for the glamour and never getting to play, Fernandes should have stayed back in India.


So, is there a way back for the talented winger?

Maybe, the winger should drop down a level to reboot his faltering career. Odisha FC coach Joseph Gombau has privately informed the winger that he does not figure prominently in his plans. Therefore, a loan deal to an I-league club could be a wise move.

There is a good player in.Romeo Fernandes- not the best winger in India, but one who is better than the one we are seeing right now.

But he is in a rut, with no future at Odisha FC, so his next move is the one which will either make or break his career.

Published 01 Dec 2019, 19:33 IST
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