The reverse exodus of Brazilian players

Internationally Brazilian players are returning to their home country. The question is the reason for this attraction: the championship, the salary or the visibility for the call-up?

Brazil's Debinha celebrates with teammates.
Brazil's Debinha celebrates with teammates after scoring against Argentina during their Women's Copa America 2022. (Photo by Juan BARRETO / AFP) (Photo by JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images)

The 2019 World Cup was decisive for expanding women’s football internationally. It meant a giant leap forward in Brazil, so much so that four of the eight most-watched matches featured the Brazil women’s national team.

With the return of games, the pandemic restrained stadiums from being filled with fans during Brazilian Women’s Football Championship matches. Still, the situation allowed people outside the niche to get to know the competition and start following through streaming platforms and television.

Main signings

In 2020, the main signings were the arrival of Bia Zaneratto (Wuhan Xinjiyuan) and Rafaelle Leone (Changchun Yatai), on loan to Palmeiras during the paralysation of the CFA Women’s Super League—Zaneratto returned permanently to 2022. Camilinha spent five years at Orlando Pride, was loaned to Palmeiras in 2020, and signed permanently the following year.

Andressinha also arrived at Corinthians in 2020 after two seasons at Portland Thorns, and she had an outstanding season. After the dismemberment of the team, the player decided to transfer to Palmeiras. Letícia “Lelê” Izidoro was also part of Corinthians but moved to Benfica in search of new air and experience. She participated in Benfica’s UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign but returned to the White and Blacks this season.

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For 2022, Flamengo first agreed to sign the midfielder Thaisa, who was at Real Madrid. Left-back Jucinara (Levante) and defender Daiane (Madrid CFF) also arrived in June.

The team seeks further development in the modality and achieves better positions in the championship.

Recently, the signing of Luana Bertolucci was announced from Corinthians, who was at Paris Saint-Germain, was featured in the 2019 World Cup, and is returning from injury. She arrives to give a new face to the position in the team, previously well practiced by Andressinha.

Brazilian championship

Unlike the main European championships, the Brazilian Women’s Football Championship merges the running points and the playoffs. 15 rounds are played and at their end, the eight best-placed teams play from the quarterfinals to the title.

This allows players to be on the most competitive teams and compete for the cup. Currently, the best placed teams are Palmeiras, Internacional, São Paulo, Corinthians, Flamengo, Real Brasília, Santos and Atletico Mineiro.

The competition as we know it has existed since 2013 and the biggest champion is Corinthians, with three titles (2018, 2020 and 2021), followed by Ferroviária, with two titles (2014 and 2019) and Centro Olímpico (2013), Rio Preto (2015), Flamengo/Marinha (2016) and Santos (2017) has one title each.

Visibility and Brazil National Team

The 2019 World Cup aired on TV Globo and SporTV channels, which meant a great advance in the women’s sport. The match between Brazil and France reached 88,454,000 fans, while the 2015 most-watched game was Brazil vs. Australia with 7,571,000 (Kantar Ibope Media).

The Brazilian Women’s Football Championship has already starred both on closed TV and on open TV and, this year, it started to broadcast matches on the largest open communication channel in the country.

One question about these transfers is if the purpose is to gain more appearances with the Brazilian national team. Or, is the motivation to get more playing minutes since there is less competition in Brazil than in Europe and the United States.

Players in Europe and the US

However, some Brazilians are constant in these markets. Kerolin was at Madrid CFF and now competes in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) for North Carolina Courage, a team that Debinha also plays for. Queen Marta has been with Orlando Pride since 2017 and the promising Angelina has been with OL Reign since 2021.

In Europe, striker Andressa Alves has defended the colours of Roma since 2019, as well as left-back Letícia Santos at Eintracht Frankfurt. The big signings of this window were defender Tainara, at Bayern München, and Geyse, at Barcelona. Gio remains without a club after finishing her loan to Levante.

There are those who do not agree with the issue of competition, but the players who are in the European and North American leagues come into contact with more experienced and quality players, in and out of clubs. These players contribute to the experience of the Brazilian team and in the search for titles in the competitions to come.

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