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Brazilian soccer legend ends brief retirement to join SF Deltas

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Dagoberto will join the SF Deltas once his visas clear.(Courtesy SF Deltas)
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The San Francisco Deltas signed Brazilian soccer star Dagoberto Pelentier in the hopes he can help the team make its first postseason.

The 34-year-old attacker, known as Dagoberto to his fans, is one of the the most accomplished Brazilian players of all-time with five Série A titles.

“Dagoberto will bring a lot of experience to our roster. He’s a player who has won everywhere he has played,” said SF Deltas head coach Marc Dos Santos in a news release. “He has something different and will bring other type of solutions in the final third. I think he will need some time to adapt but I’m confident that he will help after fitting in.”

Dagoberto’s prosperous career began with Atlético Panaense in 2001, when he won his first title and scored 45 times in 108 appearances. He won titles in 2007 and 2008 after being transferred to São Paulo. Then, he helped Cruzeiro win back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014. His five titles are only second to Brazilian soccer legend Pele who won six Série A titles.

Last year, Dagoberto briefly retired, claiming he was tired of the sport. He spoke to Brazilian sports media group GloboEsporte about it in March, roughly translated, he said, “Football is not doing me much better. I took this attitude to live a little. Soccer sucks you in this way. With a defeat, everything changes. It’s difficult, it’s getting worse every day. When I saw I could not give, I went to live my life.”

In his final season in Brazil he was playing for Club Vitória, where he didn’t score a goal in his 17 appearances. Dagoberto explained to GloboEsporte that there wasn’t unity on the team and felt other things in life like his family were more important.

During his break he opened a burger restaurant, the Gourmet Factory, and spent more time with his family. Dagoberto received offers during his time off to join other Brazilian clubs, but turned them down.

He said would only return to the sport if there was an opportunity outside of Brazil.

“I’m so happy to be going to the San Francisco Deltas for another challenge in my life,” said Dagoberto in a statement from the team. “I am very grateful to the club to trust my work and am confident that we’ll have a lot of success together.”

The Deltas will rely on Dagoberto’s versatility as an attacker and ability to finish at the cage to give them a boost in the final games of its regular spring season and achieve its goal of making the North American Soccer League postseason.

According to a report by SFGate, Dagoberto needs to secure his work visa as the final step after a month-long negotiations with the Deltas. He will be ready to join the team at the end of this season or in August when the NASL Fall Season begins.

Dagoberto is the fourth Brazilian player to sign with the Deltas and the seventh international player on the Delta’s roster, the maximum allowed by the league. This excludes Canadian players as NASL has teams in the US and Canada.

The team remains in second place in NASL, with regular spring season ending July 15th. The Deltas continue their trek to the postseason in a home game against Puerto Rico FC on Sunday July 2 at Kezar Stadium.

CORRECTION: Added attribution to a detail reported by SF Gate’s Douglas Zimmerman.

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