Romeo Fernandes was having the time of his life in February, 2015. Having a stellar inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) campaign with FC Goa last year, the impressive Indian winger from Dempo SC wowed many an aficionado with his performances in the tournament for his franchise, including Brazilian legend Zico, who was his coach and realized his potential.
Despite starting the domestic I-League campaign with the Golden Eagles, it was announced at the end of February that Romeo would go on loan to Brazilian side, Clube Atletico Paranaense participating in the Campeonato Brasileiro, better known as the Brazilian Serie A. The loan was stipulated to last until the end of June, with a renewal on the cards till December 2015, if the fledgling impressed the Paranaense management. It was said his loan had the blessings of Zico, who personally recommended him to the Brazilian club.
However, after just 22 minutes of playing time during his loan spell in the South American country, Romeo’s time has been cut short after the club officially released him from his contract, allowing the Goan lad to return to India.
“At the end of the loan period, Atletico Paranaense has released Romeo Fernandes to participate in the Indian Super League (ISL) with FC Goa,” stated an official release from the Furacão.
It was also hinted that Romeo cut-short his Brazilian adventure to be able to participate in the World Cup qualifiers India will play in the month of June, notably against Oman and Guam. The qualifiers are slated to be held on June 11 and 16, both in the subcontinent.
“The presence of Romeo in the ISL’s 2015 edition will also allow the player greater exposure whilst he targets India selection for the matches of the 11th and 16th of June, the qualifiers of the World Cup 2018,” the release read.
It may be remembered that Stephen Constantine wasn’t particularly pleased at the prospect of Romeo heading to Brazil to play only a handful of minutes and has excluded him from the list of probables for the World Cup 2018 qualifiers.
“Romeo was in my probables list for my first two games against Nepal. I allowed him to play there because if I kept him in the team, it meant I would force him to come back failing which he would face possible FIFA sanctions. Besides, Romeo has just played 18 minutes during his four-month stint in Brazil. How can one expect to play for the national team after just playing 18 minutes?” questioned the national team coach, Stephen Constantine.
“The door is open for everyone, but certainly not for a player who has gone to Brazil for somebody else’s benefits,” he added.
“Atletico Paranaense Club would like to thank the period in which Romeo Fernandes was in the service of Flamengo and informs that will continue with the project focused on the Indian market,” concluded the club’s official notification.
Follow Nikhil Jitendran on Twitter