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How a former city record transfer got the curve



How a former city record transfer got the curve

Jô once wrote history at Manchester City, his career was about to end. But then the Brazilian changed his life.

Jô witnessed the turning point at Manchester City, which shared the history of the club in a time before the Arab investors got involved and in a time after.

In late July 2008, the Cityzens, under then-Thai owner Thaksin Shinawatra, put down €24m for the Brazilian, making Jô the club’s record transfer at the time. A few weeks later, Shinawatra sold his club shares to an Abu Dhabi investment company and Man City became the “Sheikh Club”.

In terms of sport, Jô had previously impressed at CSKA Moscow, but he didn’t succeed in Manchester. After six months he was loaned to Everton FC, followed by another loan to Galatasaray. The 2010/11 season was his only full spell at Man City, with a total of 42 games and six goals.

He only held his title as the club’s record purchase for just a few weeks before his compatriot Robinho came to England from Real Madrid in the summer of 2008 for significantly more money, namely 42 million euros – and that didn’t last long either. Jack Grealish is now the record holder with a transfer fee of 117 million euros.

Jô and Ronaldinho: Brilliant on the pitch, unrestrained off it

While City developed into a top European club, Jô’s path led back to his Brazilian homeland. In 2012 he moved to Atlético Mineiro in Belo Horizonte, where he met world star Ronaldinho. The former world footballer still regularly performed magic on the pitch, but he had long since turned his attention to the party life away from it. Jô was also drawn into the temptations of alcohol and parties, especially since he was not a child of sadness in Russia.

“When I went to Russia, I started to lose control,” Jô later recalled in an interview with Global Esports back: “I started drinking. Instead of going out once a week, I went out three or four times. When I was married I slowed down a bit. But then came the fame, the money, and you feel like things in the Having to make secrets. When I was home, I wanted to get out. I was fighting with my wife. And eventually I found myself outside alone, with bad thoughts. It weighed on me for a long time.”

In Belo Horizonte the temptations were particularly strong. Not only because of Ronaldinho, but also because of the city itself, which is considered a party capital in Brazil. A saying there says: “There is no sea, so let’s go to the bar.” And there are many bars in Belo Horizonte.

In terms of sport, there was not much to see from the excesses. In half a year, Ronaldinho and Jô helped propel Mineiro to 2012 runners-up. The following season finally saw triumph in the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the European Champions League. Jô suddenly even became the focus of the Seleção, taking part in the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 home World Cup.

Jo changed his life: “Fortunately never had a car accident”

But at some point the hit rate collapsed and the excesses off the field took their toll. Jô realized that he must act. “I hit my rock bottom when I missed a few training sessions after being out all night. I also kept missing flights because I was drunk. All of these are things I regret because I’m a professional footballer,” he said and added: “Luckily I never risked my life in a car accident.”

Jô changed his life, converted to Christianity and gave up alcohol. Jô and his congenial but also dangerous partner Ronaldinho parted ways in 2014 when the latter moved to Mexico. Jô also left Brazil for the time being in 2015 and went to the United Arab Emirates. After an unsuccessful episode in China and a two and a half year chapter in Japan, he returned to Brazil in 2020. However, no longer in Belo Horizonte, but in Sao Paulo at Corinthians – the club where Jô once grew up.

After two years, the contract was terminated at his request. Jô first switched to the traditional Brazilian club Ceará SC, before moving on to Saudi Arabia in January 2023. After just one month, the time at Al-Jabalain ended again for unknown reasons. Nevertheless, it can be said: The 36-year-old got the curve.

While Jô was able to put his life back on the right track, Ronaldinho has almost exclusively made negative headlines in recent years. The contact between the two was broken. “Everyone has their own life. If Ronaldinho thinks his lifestyle is right for him, then I respect his decision,” he said. However: “If I should meet him one day and have the opportunity to tell him about my experiences and what I am experiencing today, I will do so.”

The question remains how he evaluates his failure in the Premier League in retrospect. The sale of the club certainly didn’t help, he stressed. “But it was still a dream for me to play in the Premier League,” he said.