Cruzeiro are preparing their fans for a fire sale and life outside of the top flight of Brazilian football.
That fire sale will almost certainly see Fabricio Bruno, who has been strongly linked with Celtic, and Thiago Neves move on after both players went to court to be released from their contracts after non-payment of wages.
When those steps are taken there is little prospect of a reconciliation, fans don’t tend to forgive and forget those moves.
After a board meeting on Monday Pedro Lourenço has been put in charge of football matters at Cruzeiro, in a brutal message to fans he explained that the club is broken and doesn’t have the money to pay a cook while the departure of the high earners is inevitable.
After the meeting, Lourenço talked to the press, talked about the challenges ahead and stressed that the club will build a professional team within the current reality. The idea is to have a team aiming at the Mineiro Championship and another for the Serie B. None of them will have a high investment.
“We have to live from reality, Cruzeiro today is a broken team. No money to pay cook, that’s not me talking about. We’ll have to talk to everyone. A team in the Second Division cannot afford to pay an athlete who earns $ 500,000 or $ 1 million. Let’s talk to them (players) and try to see what is best for them,” he said.
Lourenço knows there will be a lot of work ahead of him in this cast, as many athletes are expected to be “incommunicado” this holiday season.
“If we have no cash, how will we pay? We have to try to fit players into another club or whatever they think is best within a legality. I hope they understand, they are smart people, with their lives made,” he said, aware that the professional team is re-performing on January 6, 2020.
“We have to wait for the players to return, let’s talk to them, hit the lives of some. Anyone who doesn’t want to stay and go to court doesn’t want to work at the club. Let’s try to solve it the best way. The Cruz is bigger than all of us. We will get a team and it will work,” he said, clearly pinning Thiago Neves and Fabrício Bruno, who sued the court demanding amounts not paid by the club.
Finally, he stressed the importance that younger athletes will have in this team restructuring process. “Let’s focus on the boys, set up a team for Miner and patch up to make a team to go up. We can’t stay in Series B. Then let’s go back to the old days, God willing. My commitment is not to pass anyone’s head, I just work with honest people,” he said.
With Jozo Simunovic and Hatem Abd Elhamed both out injured Neil Lennon is short on alternatives in defence to Kris Ajer and Chris Jullien.
Both players have been involved in all seven matches in December and seem certain to start the two matches before the winter break.
Celtic haven’t signed a South American since the notorious deal to bring Rafael Schedit to Scotland in 2000 but it seems that moves are well underway to bring Bruno to join the champions.
CLICK HERE to read the Cruzeiro statement on Celtic and Bruno.
CLICK HERE for details of the new Cruzeiro board of directors.