With Ricardo Nascimento’s exit from Mamelodi Sundowns all but confirmed, co-head coach Rulani Mokwena has provided more about the Brazilian’s future.
Nascimento seemingly bid farewell to the club this week, and while Mokwena did express the sentiment that the player’s time at the club had come to an end, he said the club would release an official statement in the near future.
Mokwena also revealed that the club had offered the 35-year-old a different role at the club, but the defender had indicated he wanted to continue playing, be it in South Africa or in his native Brazil.
“Ricardo Nascimento, ja, well, I’m sure the club will officially release a statement and I think that is only fair and proper,” Mokwena said after Monday’s win.
“Because the reality is when a loyal servant like Ricardo has served you with such distinction, it is only proper that you deal with his departure with the best possible dignity and respect for the profile and his contribution.
“He’s been nothing but a loyal servant. His performances on the pitch, speak only about a player that was always willing to do more than required of him.
“The qualities that he possessed will be very, very difficult to replicate, one or two to replace, so we’ve got our work cut out as a club to make sure that we get a player with the same sort of technical, tactical qualities, if not better.
“So that shows and speaks about his qualities as a football player, but over and above that, for me, I always say that good football players are only good if they are good human beings.
“And I don’t think I’ve got one bad word to say about Ricardo Nascimento. I don’t think anybody at the club has got a single bad word to say about Ricardo. A gentle giant, a humble soul, someone that’s always wearing a smile on his face, always prepared to do more than required, shows huge determination and perseverance.
“He’s had two very, very big surgeries, and those did not stop him from being able to recover and to serve this club, and when you have that type of mentality, because you have the right sort of human qualities, it helps you to become a very good football player.
“So I think it is only also proper to wish him a happy birthday. We wished him a happy birthday in private, but it is his birthday today and I think it is only proper that on behalf of the Motsepe family, the president, the chairman, the players, the technical stuff, Masandawana family, we can publicly also wish Ricardo a very happy birthday.
“But also thank him for his contribution to this club.”
Mokwena confirmed that Downs offered Nascimento a different role at the club but the player feels he’s not yet ready to hang up his boots.
“And he’ll always remain a part of our family, he knows that the club has already extended plans for him to stay and to continue in a different capacity, but his feeling also is he feels he’s still got one or two more seasons to play, be it here locally, or back in his native country in Brazil,” he added.
“But that’s for him and the club to make those announcements in due course. Ours is just to thank him for his humble contribution towards the success of of this club for the years that he’s been here.”