After what felt like a slap in the face for Whitecaps FC and their loyal supporters, the man who bolted to Mexico may actually end up back in Vancouver.
Ever since former Whitecaps star Camilo Sanvezzo snaked his way out of Vancouver and signed for Mexican team Queretaro FC while still under contract to play in Vancouver and the infamous photo of him posing in the Mexican sides kit leaked out onto twitter, there always existed the possibility of a return, or at least speculation on how fans would react if he ever decided to come back.
Out of the blue, Camilo forced his way out and was sold for a club-record transfer in January and the Whitecaps were looking to use that money to put together the team for the upcoming season. However, in February reports surfaced that Queretaro FC were essentially in financial ruin. Armado Yanez, the owner of Queretaro, had been accused of fraud and had his oil services company seized by the Mexican government, while his players had also claimed that it had been more than a month since they were last paid.
This all came out after we were told that the Mexican football team possessed a very wealthy owner and one of Camilo’s main reasons for leaving was the money. In Vancouver he was being paid $247,500 which was considerably less than former ‘Caps striker Kenny Miller who was making $1.25 million while also producing less on the pitch. Camilo finished last season as the top-scorer in MLS and felt that he needed a salary to reflect that and was eager to move to Mexico to achieve it. The Whitecaps were frustrated with the whole situation and looked for help from the MLS and FIFA to stop their best player from leaving while still under contract, but they essentially received no support.
As what usually happens in professional sports the player usually gets what he wants.
In some parts of the world, say Europe, Camilo would be widely known as a traitor, scum or even Judas. Though Vancouver isn’t a soccer mad city, we would be lying if we didn’t think that there were fans and media members happy to label Camilo as the villain and demonize him. Remember he once said that he would like to play internationally for Canada?
For someone who has created much controversy and happily turned his back on the supporters that loved him, why would we ever entertain the idea of him back in a Whitecaps jersey,as rumors swirled on Friday afternoon that he could soon again wear the blue and white? Quite simply put, he is an outstanding footballer.
When you’ve built the kind of resume that Camilo has in three seasons in the MLS, scoring 39 goals, most in spectacular fashion, and are widely regarded as the best striker in the league, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past or who you’ve hurt, there will always be a team willing to take you and fans to sing your praises.
We don’t have to dig too far into the past to find any recent examples of this. In Liverpool, striker Luis Suarez was trying to force a move out of Anfield to first Arsenal and then Real Madrid. He wanted to play Champions League football, something Liverpool couldn’t give him last season and both Arsenal and Real Madrid were eager to sign him. You would think that there wouldn’t be a big market for a player who was suspended eight games by the English Football Association for racially abusing another player in 2011 and was suspended 10 games for biting and opposing player in 2013. Why was there a market for him? Because, he’s one of the best strikers in the world and teams would kill for a chance to sign him. He is still with Liverpool and the supporters are madly in love with him.
Two years ago Robin van Persie was frustrated with Arsenal’s lack of silverware that he forced a move to rival club Manchester United. The striker should have been sold for at least 40 million pounds, but since only one club was in to sign him, he was sold for only 24 million pounds. While known as scum and Judas by Arsenal supporters, they sing his name at Old Trafford.
The bottom line is that if Camilo wants to return to the MLS and play for Vancouver and according to a TSN article written by Peter Schaad, Camilo is eager for a reunion, the Whitecaps need to act on it because he is too valuable to pass up. He knows how to find the back of the net on a consistent basis, something the young Whitecaps failed to effectively show against Toronto FC midweek. If Vancouver does not accept him, you can bet that there will be 18 other clubs willing to sign last years MLS leading scorer at any cost.
With Kenny Miller out of the picture, salary has been freed up to financially accomodate the 25-year-old striker. Just imagine what a side boasting the likes of Manneh, Hurtado, Mattocks, Teibert, Fernandez, Mezquida, Morales, Koffie, Salgado and Camilo could achieve. Back-lines would be shredded and if they ever win the ultimate prize or even come close, all will be quickly forgotten.
Just take a look at what they could be missing.
Feature Image: MLS Soccer