Internacional defender Rodinei has some awkward explaining to do to one generous supporter, after he was sent off against parent club Flamengo – a match he was only allowed to play in after a fan coughed up around £130,000 of their own money.
Heading into the game, Inter were expecting to make do without the 29-year-old, who joined on loan from Flamengo in the summer. But it was a huge match in the context of the title, with just a single point separating the two teams, and one supporter wanted their side to be at full strength.
Aware of a clause in the loan deal that would allow Rodinei to play against his parent team so long as a payment of R$1m (approx. £130,000) was made, a Cuiabá-based supporter contacted the club to pay the fee that would allow him to feature.
The club enthusiastically announced the donation on their website, and for 49 or so minutes of the match, it was a decision that looked to be paying off…
The game was balanced on a knife edge after Giorgian de Arrascaeta cancelled out Edenilson’s early penalty, but then Rodinei stamped down on Atletico and Chelsea defender Filipe Luis, and it all went to hell.
After a brief VAR review, the right-back was shown red, and Gabriel Barbosa went on to net the winner for Flamengo, who wrestled top spot from their title rivals.
The red card means Rodinei will now serve a three-game suspension, and will sit out the final game of their regular season against Corinthians on Friday.
So not only did the donation ultimately hinder Inter on the day, Rodinei will actually miss more games now than he would have without it.
Inter can still win the title, but will now have to better Flamengo’s result in order to do it.
And there will be one defender who is praying to the heavens that they can – because he has some serious apologies to make if not.