The former I-League star spoke about how the Goan midfielder could have had a good career in the South American nation.
Brazilian midfielder Beto, after hanging his boots, worked as a football agent and brought several star players and coaches to the ISL, which included the likes of Roberto Carlos, Lucio, Diego Forlan and Zico. However, he also took one player the other way, from India to Brazil. It was Goan winger Romeo Fernandes.
Romeo Fernandes impressed Beto as well as former FC Goa coach Zico and and went on to join Brazilian top flight outfit Club Athletico Paranaense. Speaking on Khel Now’s Beyond the Scores podcast Beto himself opened up about the move and explained why the deal did not last long.
“I brought Romeo Fernandes to Brazil, but it was spoiled by then India coach (Stephen) Constantine and Romeo’s agent,” began Beto. “Constantine also made jokes and made him come back to India for the national team, as he was not playing regularly. Then after six months, Romeo was not even in the national team anymore. He was not part of any big scene, it hurt me a lot. The boy here would have been on another level. He may not have got that much playing time as he would get in India, but the experience would take him to another level. All he needed was patience.”
The former Dempo SC midfielder asserted that it was not a marketing move. Rather, he had bigger plans for the Goan winger, who he says would have grown in stature as a player by playing in the Brazilian top tier.
“We had a proper plan, it was not a marketing move of six months agreement. It was a three-year contract and in those three years, he would have had a lot more experience than what he would have had in India. We had a proper plan of growth, day-by-day he would develop and play with the best players here.”
“But, then Constantine called him. For me, he has done nothing for Indian football. People talk about how he has helped football in India, but I have not seen anything other than playing against countries below the level of India. He was jealous, that’s why he spoiled Romeo’s deal with his agent. We did not stop him (Romeo) because it was his decision.
“It is sad that because of his ego and jealousy, they spoiled a career of a talented boy, who would have had a career in Brazil,” Beto added with a tinge of disappointment in his voice.
Fernandes came back to India after his move to Brazil and it might be one of his biggest regrets. The Goan winger’s career has gone downhill ever since. Beto expressed how he was impressed by Romeo since his days at Dempo and how he also impressed Zico during his time at FC Goa. However, he hopes that Romeo can make a comeback and achieve his true potential.
“I have special care for Romeo. He was coming up from the youth development and from that time I saw his quality. Armando (Colaco) worked with him a lot. Then ISL came and Zico was also impressed with him. He was the one who gave the Brazilian club (Paranaense) approval to sign Romeo. I wish he can get his best days back. In football, you do not forget how to play. We have to find peace and concentration in what we do and I hope Romeo finds it,” Beto signed off.