Football fans have got used to seeing clubs’ elaborate ceremonies for the unveiling of a marquee-signing. Who can forget the little kid who ran into David Beckham’s arms when he joined the Bernabau. Or the thousands of Milanisti who turned up to welcome Ronaldinho in the summer.
Well, those were nothing compared to Mario Jardel’s amazingly over-the-top introduction marking the journeyman’s latest and what will surely be his last move of a long, long career back to his hometown club of Ferroviario.
35-year-old Jardel began his career for Ferroviario back in 1989 before briskly moving on to Vasco da Gama where he learnt his trade scoring 26 goals in 50 appearances over four seasons. In total, the ex-Bolton, Porto and Galatasaray striker went on to play for 15 clubs sides as well as representing the Brazilian national team, amassing 273 goals in 352 matches.
The statistics however do not paint a true picture of Jardel’s career. Plagued by weight issues ever since being left out the 2002 Brazil squad for the World Cup, Jardel has only ever managed as many as 12 matches every season since.
And with the end of his playing days in sight, Jardel has decided to return to where it all began, rejoining Ferroviario 20 years after he left, and doing so in a great spectacle of showmanship.
Flying into a packed ground by helicopter ahead of Ferroviario’s match with Guarany Sobral, Jardel’s chopper landed on the centre circle to the ecstatic applause of the adoring home crowd. Jardel was then handed his shirt, which he snugly put over his clothes.
Jardel invited TV Cidade to join him in his experience, with the camera crew recording the player’s journey in the helicopter and arrival at the ground.
The report can be seen here.