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Elber future in balance

Published: Sunday 9 January 2005, 16.22CET
Giovane Elber's Olympique Lyonnais future is in doubt after the club handed Nilmar their last non-EU player slot. features

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Published: Sunday 9 January 2005, 16.22CET

Elber future in balance

Giovane Elber's Olympique Lyonnais future is in doubt after the club handed Nilmar their last non-EU player slot.

Giovane Elber will not feature for Olympique Lyonnais until the end of the season after the French side handed his compatriot Nilmar the last of their five non-EU player slots.

Promising replacement
The 32-year-old sustained a serious ankle fracture in August and in his absence, the Ligue 1 side brought in Nilmar from Brazilian side SC Internacional in a deal worth €8m. The 20-year-old has since impressed with six goals, mostly as a substitute, including a spectacular added-time double in the side's 4-2 win against Fenerbahçe SK on Matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League.

Operation in Germany
Elber is also the architect of his own downfall after angering the club by undergoing a second operation on his ankle in Germany without Lyon's permission. Club president Jean-Michel Aulas insists the former FC Bayern München striker remains in the club's plans, however. "Elber is still registered with Lyon, and he will remain with the squad as a professional player," Aulas said. "He just won't be allowed to play in the first team."

Successful season
His future could be reassessed at the end of the season and much might depend on the contract renegotiations of two other Brazilians, Claudio Caçapa and Juninho. Without Elber, Lyon currently lead the French league and after topping their Champions League group, they will meet Werder Bremen in the first knockout round in February.

Last updated: 09/01/05 21.25CET

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