ACL final hero Negrao leaves Ulsan to go China

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ACL final hero Negrao leaves Ulsan to go China

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The decision to part ways with Brazilian striker Junior Negrao was mutually agreed by the AFC Champions League winners Ulsan Hyundai.

Negrao, who netted both the goals in Ulsan’s ACL final 2-1 win over Iran’s Persepolis in December, leaves the K-League after three seasons with the Asian champs.

The 34-year-old will next head to the Chinese Super League, with the newly promoted Changchun Yatai widely believed to be his destination.

Negrao bid farewell to Ulsan on the club’s social media on Thursday (January 28), saying it was time to move on after three years with the South Korean club.

During his time there, he scored 67 goals in 94 appearances in all competitions, including seven strikes to finish joint top scorer in the ACL last year. The ACL triumph was his first and only major silverware with Ulsan.

Ulsan and their head coach Hong Myung-bo did not stand in Negrao’s way, as they are currently planning on reducing the Ulsan squad age by replacing the veterans with younger players.

In his younger days, Negrao had been an average footballer who played for a different Brazil club almost every year. It was only in 2016, at the age of 29, that he shone following a move to Thailand.

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He was signed by Muangthong United but loaned out immediately to Pattaya United, with whom he scored 20 goals in 29 outings.

He caught the eye of Daegu FC, who brought him to the K-League in 2017. Despite injuries, he scored 12 goals in 16 games for Daegu, before moving to Ulsan the following season.   

Negrao is expected to link up with another lethal Brazilian, Serginho, at Changchun Yatai.

Coincidentally, Serginho had also scored a goal against Persepolis in an ACL final. He was on target in Kashima Antlers’ 2-0 victory over the Iran club in the 2018 final.

Changchun won promotion to the Chinese Super League last season after two years in the second division. The club, who won their only CSL title in 2007, are spending big in an effort to return to their glory days.

Besides Negrao and Serginho, they also have two other Brazilians in their squad. Midfielder Lucas Souza joined from Greek club APOEL FC last year, while striker Erik, who impressed for Yokohama Marinos in the J-League in the last two seasons, has just come aboard.    

The Chinese Super League 2021 season begins on March 11.

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2021/04/18
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