By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Uruguayan player Sebastian ‘El Loco’ Abreu is Botafogo’s newest reinforcement for the 2010 season. The 33-year old striker recently became a national hero in his home country as he scored Uruguay’s only goal in the 1-1 draw against Costa Rica in the last game of the World Cup 2010 qualifiers, the goal that put a stamp on Uruguay’s passport to South Africa.
In the Uruguayan national team, the superstitious Abreu plays with the number 13 shirt, and he chose that same number to defend the black and white colors of Botafogo. On last Tuesday, January 6th, the player was introduced to the media and fans in Botafogo’s headquarters, at the General Severiano street, in the Botafogo neighborhood.
He received his new uniform from the hands of legendary Botafogo player Zagallo, who in the past also used the number 13 shirt and had a reputation of being superstitious about it too. Zagallo is one of the biggest heroes of Brazilian soccer ever: he won two World Cups as a player (1958 and 1962) and another as coach (1970).
Botafogo’s board of directors, along with coach Estevam Soares are working hard to put a new team together for the 2010 season, and other reinforcements arrived at General Severiano in the last few days. The defenders Antônio Carlos and Fabio Ferreira are two of them.
The former used to defend Atlético-GO, a small club from Goiás, while the latter defended Vitória, a team from Bahia. Midfielder Somália also arrived recently at General Severiano, but apart from ‘El Loco’ Abreu, the biggest reinforcement for the season is another gringo striker.
On the 2010 season, Botafogo’s striker duo will be comprised of the Uruguayan ‘El Loco’ Abreu and the Argentinian Herrera, who was lent to Botafogo by Gremio for a year. Herrera had great performances in the last two seasons, in 2008 he helped the Corinthians win the Série B championship and returning to Série A, and in 2009 he was one of Gremio’s top scorers in the Brasileirão.
A lot of speculation is being made about other reinforcements arriving at Botafogo in the next weeks. So far, official sources are not commenting on rumors, but it is being said that Botafogo is trying to sign Corinthians’ Morais, Portuguesa’s Fellype Gabriel (ex-Flamengo) and another foreigner, the Paraguayan striker Ortigoza, who on last season defended Palmeiras.
However, Botafogo also denied negotiations with ‘El Loco’ Abreu, Herrera and others, only commenting on these trades and acquisitions after the fact.
Botafogo is currently training in the city of Saquarema, in the Lake Region of the Rio de Janeiro state. The team will debut in the Campeonato Carioca state championship on Saturday, January 16th, playing against Barueri in Campos dos Goytacazes, in the northern area of the Rio de Janeiro state.