Kleber's bigamy takes Cruzeiro for a ride
Since returning to the samba country in a move that saw him loaned to Palmeiras by Dinamo Kyiv early last year, forward KlÃÂ©ber has been one of BrazilÃ¢ÂÂs most offensive menaces, on and off the pitch.
With a rare attitude and a truck load of goals, he became an instant idol at the Sao Paulo side.
Big Green fans suddenly Ã¢ÂÂ and perhaps exaggeratedly Ã¢ÂÂ placed him alongside a club legend, Edmundo.
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This love was truly reciprocated by the player, who announced his unhappiness when Kyiv refused PalmeirasÃ¢ÂÂs offer for him in December.
Ã¢ÂÂI want to stay,Ã¢ÂÂ he said, once, twice, thrice. But the Ukrainians showed their hard hearts and sent him anyway to Cruzeiro.
KlÃÂ©ber then started over, with the same guts he showed at Palmeiras.
He quickly became the star of the team that won the Minas Gerais state championship and just fell short of the Copa Libertadores crown, losing to Independiente in a heartbreaking night at a jam-packed MineirÃÂ£o.
In late June, the worldwide press incessantly reported a Liverpool move for KlÃÂ©ber, in a 15 million Euro deal. Porto made an official offer for him just before the transfer deadline, but Cruzeiro refused.
So KlÃÂ©ber continued in Belo Horizonte, although not as effectively as in the first semester. One thing, however, hasnÃ¢ÂÂt cooled off: his love for his club.
His former club, that is.
Somehow KlÃÂ©ber kept himself closely attached to Palmeiras, even after his departure. Everytime he had a break from his current squad, he was seen in the vicinity of the Palestra Italia stadium.
Immediately after CruzeiroÃ¢ÂÂs quarter-final Libertadores win against SÃÂ£o Paulo, in a touchline interview on national TV , he dedicated the victory to the Palmeiras fans, who were upset because of the teamÃ¢ÂÂs elimination from the competition, the day before.
People started wondering how the innamorato would do when he had to face his old fling.
In the first Brazilian Championship encounter between Cruzeiro and Palmeiras, in SÃÂ£o Paulo, KlÃÂ©ber was suspended and didn't play.
Then came the second game, in Belo Horizonte last Wednesday. Recovering from an injury that had sidelined him for five matches, the forward was set to return against Palmeiras.
Before the Wednesday, however, came the Saturday.
On that day, KlÃÂ©ber accepted an invitation to be the star of the grand opening of a football tournament staged by the Mancha Alvi-Verde, Palmeiras' largest ultras group.
He posed for pictures donning their green and white shirt and hat, proudly featuring both the Disney villain Phantom Blot and the Palmeiras crest.
On the eve of the Palmeiras vs Cruzeiro clash.
It gets worse. Just about recovering from injury, KlÃÂ©ber thought it was OK to take part in a football game there too.
Ã¢ÂÂJust for fun," he protested. "It wasnÃ¢ÂÂt as if I played in a professional match.Ã¢ÂÂ
He was forgiven by the Cruzeiro directors, but not the fans. Before the game, more than 60 ultras from the Mafia Azul [Blue Mob] protested against KlÃÂ©ber in front of CruzeiroÃ¢ÂÂs offices.
Palmeiras won the match 2-1 and KlÃÂ©ber, who was rarely above average despite hitting the post, was booed when coach Adilson Batista substituted him.
The fans wanted him out of the club. And so did the player, who said on Thursday that he wasnÃ¢ÂÂt happy at Cruzeiro and was planning to leave.
He later he changed his mind Ã¢ÂÂ but demanded Ã¢ÂÂrespectÃ¢ÂÂ to stay in the club.
Caught in the crossfire, Cruzeiro president ZezÃÂ© Perrela tried to restore the harmony Ã¢ÂÂ and protect his 15-million Euro investiment Ã¢ÂÂ by joking about the situation.
Ã¢ÂÂKlÃÂ©ber is bigamous," he declared. "He dates both Palmeiras and Cruzeiro fans, and we have to live with that.
"ItÃ¢ÂÂs no secret, his love relationship with Palmeiras, so the Cruzeiro nation has no right to feel betrayed.Ã¢ÂÂ
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