A Brazilian in Qatar
A Brazilian in Germany is not too unusual in the soccer world. But a Brazilian in Germany becoming an Arab national to fulfill a childhood dream - that certainly is.
In an exclusive interview with DW-WORLD, Ailton, the leading scorer for the top team in the Bundesliga, confirmed that he had accepted Qatar's offer to take on the Arab nation's citizenship and play for its national team.
He said he plans to fly to Qatar next week to wrap up the deal.
Ailton, who has scored 20 goals in 22 matches for Werder Bremen this season, has unsuccessfully attempted to play for his native Brazil, and has repeatedly expressed a desire to play for Germany.
Ailton speaks German and was ready to take on German citizenship. But trainer Rudi Völler turned him down earlier this season, with the argument that Ailton is, after all, Brazilian.
Ailton would not comment media reports alleging he would receive a one-time payment of €1 million ($1.2 million) to take on Qatari citizenship, plus an annual salary of €400,000 ($495,000) for playing.
He said he was not guided by financial motivation. "Of course, money is important to me, but it was more important to fulfill this dream," Ailton said. "The Brazilian team doesn't want me, so that is why I've decided to play for a team which appreciates me."
Qatar will play Jordan on March 31. And Ailton wants to be on the playing field, wearing the sheikdom's jersey.
DEUTSCHE WELLE / DW-WORLD.DE © 2004