Rio de Janeiro: Cruzeiro have ruled out making a bid to sign Ricardo Goulart amid mounting speculation linking the China-based midfielder with their Brazilian football rivals Palmeiras.
Goulart earlier this month revealed a desire to return to Brazil in January despite being contracted to Guangzhou Evergrande until 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.
Palmeiras and his former club Cruzeiro have until now been considered the most likely destinations for the 26-year-old Brazilian.
“Cruzeiro has always wanted Ricardo Goulart to return but it is financially too difficult. There’s no way we can do it,” Cruzeiro football director Itair Machado said in a social media post on Monday.
Goulart, whose solitary Brazil cap came in 2014, has scored 78 goals in 123 matches for Evergrande since his 18 million-euro ($21.36 million) move from Cruzeiro in January 2015.
He has helped the club win three consecutive Chinese Super League titles and was voted the competition’s best player in 2015 and 2016.
Nine-time Brazilian Serie A champions Palmeiras are now the standalone favourites to sign Goulart due to his friendship with the club’s football director, Alexandre Mattos.