It’s the worst kept secret that Mamelodi Sundowns defender Ricardo Nascimento is home sick and he has been considering a return back to his native country, Brazil, where he will be closer to his family.
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The 34-year-old joined Masandawana in 2016 and he has been a key figure in Sundowns’ defence, pairing with various teammates from the late Motjeka Madisha to Mosa Lebusa, former teammate Wayne Arendse and a couple more.
Nascimento was Sundowns’s designated penalty taker, and perhaps his most famous spot-kick was when he netted in the 2017 Caf Super Cup where the Brazilians beat TP Mazembe 1-0.
After making 25 appearances across all competitions last season, Nascimento has not featured at all for Sundowns this season, and while it is unclear if he is injured or not, Sundowns usually allow their international players to have their rehabilitation process at the comfort of their home while monitoring them strictly as they put recovering players on strict programs. Nascimento did not join his teammates for pre-season drills.
Nascimento has two years left on his contract with Sundowns, but his prolonged absence could lead to Sundowns terminating his deal with consequences on the players’ camp, a source revealed to Phakaaathi.
“We have moved from that stage of letting players come and go as they please. Nascimento is contracted to the club and he knows that he needs to be here with the team,” says the source.
“In the past, a number of players would just decide to not honour their contracts and stay away from the team, and the club’s management has been working tirelessly to make sure that we keep a high standard of professionalism and the players do what is expected of them. We have partnered with Roc Nation and this is one of the reasons why we brought them on board so we are able to manage the negotiations of players,” the source added.