Hai Phong pull off Denilson coup

Former Brazil international Denilson, once the world's most expensive footballer, has agreed to play for a mid-table Vietnamese side. The 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/JapanTM winner will join Hai Phong Cement for the second half of the V-League season that begins this month, the Thanh Nien newspaper revealed.

It said Denilson had his first practice session with the team yesterday. African, European and Asian players have become common in the competition, but one of the 31-year-old's stature is a rarity for Vietnamese football.

I don't know anything about Vietnamese football. I come with my passion.
Denilson on joining Hai Phong Cement

Denilson was capped 61 times and became the world's most expensive player when he moved left Sao Paulo for Spanish side Real Betis for £21.5m in 1998.

"I don't know anything about Vietnamese football," Denilson told Thanh Nien, adding that football is the same everywhere. "I come to Vietnamese football with my passion."

Denilson also played in the France 1998 Final, which Brazil lost to the host nation. Earlier this year he was on trial with English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers, after being without a club since his release from Palmeiras.

Denilson's European club career never really flourished, despite spending seven seasons in Spain followed by a spell at French side Bordeaux. He also turned out for Saudi Arabian outfit Al Nasr and FC Dallas in the USA.

Hai Phong Cement are currently sixth in the 14-team V-League.