"Loco" Abreu signs with Rio Branco, hopes to raise Brazilian club's profile


Veteran Uruguayan soccer player Sebastian "El Loco" Abreu was introduced Wednesday as the newest member of Rio Branco Atletico Clube, making the Brazilian Fourth-Division club the 28th team whose jersey he has worn.

"In making the decision to take on this new challenge, I not only looked at the wishes of Rio Branco, but also my desire to give soccer in Espiritu Santo state a shot at moving up on the national scene and maybe even helping it stand out in international soccer," the 42-year-old striker said.

Rio Branco, a club classified in the Fourth Division even though it has not engaged in national competition since 2015, signed Abreu as the main addition to the roster that will compete for the 2019 Capixabao.

The Capixabao is the regional tournament in the small state of Espiritu Santo, which has a long soccer tradition.

In 2019, Rio Branco will compete in the state's First Division after being the Second-Division champion last year.

"I'm also a demanding person. Before agreeing (to the deal), I wanted to know where we would be practicing and I watched videos about the club and its infrastructure. I saw that they were doing some serious planning and it would be a good place to take my soccer (career)," Abreu said.

The striker acknowledged that he was no longer the same player he was when he started his career, but he said he was fit.

"Athletes never stop working out. It's clear that we're going to have to start by regaining the rhythm and getting used to the team as time passes. But it's good that you know that when I was 20, I ran eight kilometers per match and today I run seven kilometers," Abreu said.

The striker, who was a member of the Uruguayan national team that competed at the 2012 World Cup in South Africa, returned this year to Brazil, where he previously played for Figueirense in 2012; Botafogo from 2010 to 2012; Gremio from 1998 to 1999; and Bangu in 2017.

Last season, Abreu played in Chile, where he spent time with Audax Italiano, Deportes Puerto Montt and Magallanes.

In Europe, Abreu played for Spain's Deportivo de La Coruña in 1998 and Real Sociedad in 2009, as well as for Greek club Aris Salonica in 2009.

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