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Half-game Denilson quits Vietnam

AFTER playing half a game with Vietnam's Hai Phong Cement FC, former Brazil international Denilson has shocked fans by quitting the team because of injury, the Vietnam Football Federation said.

Denilson, once the world's most expensive soccer player, scored a goal from a free kick in the early minutes of his only V-League appearance last Sunday to help Hai Phong Cement beat former champion Hoang Anh Gia Lai 3-1 and snap a losing streak.

He sat out the second half when the coach realized that a right leg injury was holding him back, Vietnam News reported. The VFF said he had quit the team on Tuesday and was planning to leave the country. "One more time, fans were as shocked as his surprise appearance a few days ago," the VFF report said.

Denilson had missed two earlier games, angering expectant fans, before making his debut on Sunday.

The Brazilian came to the northern port city of Hai Phong earlier this month after months of cajoling and coaxing. The transfer delighted the mid-table V-League team's fans, who welcomed the 31-year-old to practice with a motorcade of scooters, flags and flares.

But his swift exit was sure to rankle Hai Phong supporters, who are known for their rowdy behavior.

Denilson was the subject of a world transfer record in 1998 when Real Betis paid more than US$35 million to sign him.

The VFF report said the Brazilian's contract only stipulated payment for games he played, netting him US$12,000 for the match and a US$5,000 bonus for the goal.


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