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Olympics2000

Wednesday, 13 September, 2000, 00:19 GMT 01:19 UK
Rafael to return a golden bhoy
A happy Rafael at Glasgow Airport with his agent
A happy Rafael at Glasgow Airport with his agent
Celtic's troubled defender, Rafael, is returning for a loan spell back in his homeland and BBC Sport Online's South American football expert, Tim Vickery, argues that those who question the Brazilian's ability and £4.8m transfer fee have got it wrong.

Accused of tax avoidance and of falsifying his age on official documents, the most serious charge Brazil coach Wanderley Luxemburgo is facing is not technically a crime.

But profiting from the buying and selling of players is ethically incompatible with the duties of a coach.

Ricardo Teixeira, president of the Brazilian FA, has announced that Luxemburgo will be sacked if these allegations are substantiated.

Vasco da Gama director Eurico Miranda has already claimed that he suspects Luxemburgo of an involvement in the sale of Evanilson, a right-back who rose from reserve in a minor team to the Brazil squad to Borussia Dortmund in a little more than six months.

Market value

A Brazil call-up invariably boosts a player's market value. During Luxemburgo's two-year reign, six players were brought into the squad only to disappear after being sold abroad.

In the current climate of suspicion and denunciations, some wonder whether these players were given a Brazil cap solely to facilitate a move to Europe.

Rafael Scheidt has not represented his country since joining Celtic at the end of last year.

The centre back's unimpressive displays with the Glasgow giants have given rise to a suspicion that Celtic were duped into paying big money for a small talent.

Bad faith

But, at least in this case, there is no evidence that Luxemburgo acted in bad faith.

Fine form for Grêmio saw Scheidt given his international debut as a substitute against Japan in March 1999.

A rare sight: Rafael in a Celtic strip
A rare sight: Rafael in a Celtic strip
His next game the following month may not count as a full international. Nevertheless, the match to celebrate Barcelona's centenary was a test of fire for the young defender.

Against opponents who could match international quality with club understanding, Brazil ran the risk of a humiliation. Scheidt came through the 2-2 draw with credit and looked like the answer to Brazil's prayers.

Just a few years after they had more quality centre backs than they could possibly use, Brazil were struggling to find one. Perhaps Scheidt was the solution.

He would have been first choice in last July's Copa America had not his career briefly been interrupted when he tested positive for the steroid DHEA.

Scheidt was eventually cleared after claims that his body could have produced the substance naturally - but he had to sit out the Copa America.

Full strength

He went straight back into the team for two friendlies against Argentina last September (bringing his total Brazil appearances up to 4, including the game against Barcelona).

Seen as vital preparation for the World Cup qualifiers, both sides were at full strength.

So well did Scheidt perform that Luxemburgo decided that he no longer needed Aldair; last November's match against Spain was billed as the veteran defender's official farewell.

Only after Scheidt lost form and fitness with Celtic did Luxemburgo have to go back on his word and bring Aldair back.

International place

The move to Scotland looked perfect on paper. Scheidt travelled with his international place apparently secure.

With a year in Japan behind him, he was already used to living away from home.

After two seasons, with European football guaranteed, he would have shown his worth sufficiently to earn a move to one of the continent's major clubs.

Instead, Scheidt looks for an early exit from his northern exile.

Self-esteem

The proposed loan to Corinthians would do wonders for his self-esteem. The Brazilian public would not judge him as a flop, merely think that he had been unwise to move to what they see as one of football's backwaters.

Brazilian football lives for the moment.

Juninho returned from Middlesborough with his tail between his legs. After just four games with Vasco da Gama, he had done enough to earn an international recall.

With Brazil's defensive problems, it would only take a few good performances for Corinthians for Scheidt to be in contention once again.

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11 Sep 00 |  Celtic
Bhoy Rafael not yet in Brazil
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