The Brazillian star determined to make it in Việt Nam

July 14, 2022 - 10:04

It's 17,000km from the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, but Claudecir dos Reis Rodrigues Junior has never felt more at home. 


Brazilian Claudecir dos Reis Rodrigues Junior has been living in Việt Nam since 2016 and has no intention of leaving. — Photos courtesy of Claudecir dos Reis Rodrigues Junior 

Thanh Nga

It's 17,000km from the beaches of Rio de Janeiro to Việt Nam, but Claudecir dos Reis Rodrigues Junior has never felt more at home. 

However, his journey has been a little bit different to most expats; Claudecir came to Việt Nam to play professional football. 

"Việt Nam became my second country as it opened the doors for me to football internationally, where I learned many things,” Claudecir told Việt Nam News.

“I found different cultures, foods and connections with different types of thoughts. This motivates me a lot,” he added.

“When I arrived in 2016, people treated me very well. It always felt familiar, I couldn't understand why! But I feel like it did me a lot of good. I hope many good things will come to me. 

"Việt Nam changed my life,” Claudecir said.

Claudecir now considers Việt Nam his second home and has no intention of leaving. 

The Brazillian striker was widely known in the jersey of Quảng Nam FC, scoring 12 goals in his opening season with the club. A season later, his side won the V.League 1 for the first time and Claudecir was given the best foreign player award of the season.

However, it hasn't all been plain sailing for Claudecir since he decided to move 1,000km across the world. 

He left Quảng Nam FC in 2019, bouncing between Hải Phòng, Quảng Ninh Coal, Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh and Đà Nẵng FC since. 

“I hope that I will have more opportunities to play football in Việt Nam. Money is important to every player, but for me, that's not the story. I need to prove to myself, to my family and the fans of this country," Claudecir said.

“I train hard every day, to increase my health as I don’t know when a club will call.

“I think, the immediate challenge will be very arduous. However, I believe in my ability to play as well as my personality on the field. That's why I don't want to go to another country to play. I know that I have not shown all my talents to the Vietnamese fans,” Claudecir said.

Claudecir won the V.League 1 with Quảng Nam FC in his second season with the club.

Despite the harsh reality of trying to make it as a professional footballer in a foreign country, Claudecir is determined not to give up on his dream of returning to professional football in Việt Nam. 

“I am very nervous in each challenge. I believe that many people in Việt Nam believe in my ability to play football. Of course, I can't play well all the time. Like Neymar or Lionel Messi, for example, they sometimes have good and bad performances.

Despite it all, Claudecir has many good memories in Việt Nam and wants to make even more. 

“I don't want to start again in another country. I love to discover new places in Việt Nam. Everywhere is so beautiful, but Hội An is my favourite place. I love the beach."

Having traded Copacabana for the sands of Hội An, the boy from Rio has no intention of switching back. — VNS

Claudecir and his family in Việt Nam.