Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano's old club drew with Gremio and was relegated this Sunday. Back in 2004, Tevez was hailed as the first in a long line of Galacticos style of player when he was brought from Boca Juniors by Kia Joorabchian, the club's new owner and a MSI partner. He was joined by Javier Mascherano from River Plate. Their combined price tag was $33m, an unheard of figure in Brazilian league play. In 2005 they won the Championship.
Alex Bellos article recalls those days when Kia Joorabchian was envisaging Corinthians as a global brand. With the most lucrative sponsorship in Brazilian league history it looked as if Joorabchian's plans were well on their way.
Pitch Invasion has more on their Championship rise and their equally rapid descent into relegation three years later as the club and MSI were targeted for investigation for suspected for money laundering and financial irregularities. The result was no big name players made it to the club and they relied on second and third division players.
The relegation of Corinthians is a clear indicator of the pitfalls associated with third party structures. Something the EPL became embroiled for the first time in its history this summer with the Carlos Tevez transfer. In the South American leagues there is an already established history of agencies owning the rights to players rather than clubs. Most of the times it is quite safe. But in the hands of MSI and its English league expansionist plans, Tevez and Mascherano became bait, and Corinthians the victim. The influx of future Galacticos became a pipedream as MSI shifted its focus on the more lucrative EPL and the money earned through Tevez and Mascherano's transfer was illegally offshored into numerous bank accounts to purchase and transfer other players.
Tevez and Mascherano are now prime movers in their clubs Man Utd and Liverpool, respectively, with big fan followings but it was not too long ago that their struggles in West Ham led them to pine for a return to Corinthians. Its a pity because at this stage Corinthians would loved to have a bit of that Tevez magic which saved the Hammers from relegation.