Mário Jardel has announced that he wants to leave Sporting Clube de Portugal.
The unexpected news comes at a time when the club are desperate to retain the services of the Brazilian international, having drawn Internazionale FC in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League on Friday.
Golden Shoe winner
The striker, who won last season’s European Golden Shoe award with 42 goals in the Portuguese 1. Liga, explained his decision during a press conference held at the headquarters of the Portuguese Football Players Association (SJPF) by claiming that he is in "no psychological condition to stay in Portugal", following the decision last week by his wife to file for divorce in a Brazilian court.
'Very difficult moment'
The player went on to say: "I ask for people’s understanding and for the fans support, because this is a very difficult moment in my career. I want to also tell you that I will seek medical help so that I can recover soon enough to resume my football career". Jardel, who still has two more years left on his contract with Sporting, confirmed that he had not had any offers from any other clubs in Europe.
Short up front
Asked to comment on Jardel’s decision, Sporting's coach, Romanian Laszlo Bölöni, said: "He can cure himself by playing and scoring goals, which is what he does best." With less than a month to go to the beginning of the first division season and the two-legged tie with Inter (13/14 and 27/28 August), the Portuguese champions face a serious attacking crisis.
As well as this question mark over Jardel, playmaker João Pinto will be unavailable until October having been suspended by FIFA following his dismissal during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and both Romanian striker Marius Niculae and Portuguese forward Ricardo Sá Pinto are still recovering from serious injuries.
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