Brazilian samba-star Ze Roberto is considered to be one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga. His amazing technique, brilliant vision and top stamina have made him one of the key players to HSV's excellent start to the new season, quickly becoming a fan favorite in the process.
The Brazilian was though to be a bargain-buy, as he was supposedly transfer-free after his contract with FC Bayern had expired, but the truth turned out quite differently. Apparently, Ze Roberto was under contract with Uruguayan side Nacional Montevideo, as their majority stock-holder Juan Figer owned the transfer rights to the Brazilian midfield-star.
Ze Roberto never moved transfer-free to Munich and Hamburg, as both teams had to pay considerable fees to Juan Figer and Nacional Montevideo. Bayern paid over 1 million to loan the Brazilian for two seasons and HSV paid up to 4 million to contract the 35-year old for the season.
Juan Figer is no stranger to controversial deals and shady transfer right constructions, as his investment company MJF Publicidade E Promocoes S/C Ltda represents the likes of Luis Figo (remember his Barcelona - Madrid deal?), Robinho, Julio Baptista and many other South Americans.
The question that remains is why HSV hasn't been honest about the money they have invested in their midfield-skipper. I personally suspect it has something to do with added expectations by the fans. Since HSV has already invested considerably into their squad, any more investments would be seen as a more serious title challenge and more pressure for the squad.
These have been HSV's investments so far:
1. Eljero Elia (HOL)
FC Twente (HOL)
2. Marcus Berg (SWE)
FC Groningen (HOL)
3. David Rozehnal (BRA)
Lazio Roma (ITA)
4. Ze Roberto (BRA)
5. Robert Tesche (GER)
Arminia Bielefeld (GER)
All these transfers take their total spending to a clean 27,9 mil., which would lead to more expectations from the fans. It looks like that little plot backfired, as the German media, Bild in particularly, are trying to create a scandal.
Either way, despite his age of 35, 4 million was a good deal for Ze Roberto, as he brings some much needed finesse and intelligence to the Hamburg-midfield, which has lacked these qualities since Rafael van der Vaart departed to Real Madrid.