Honda hopes to bring back glory days to Botafogo

  • Football
  • Sunday, 09 Feb 2020

Soccer Football - Botafogo presentation for new signing Keisuke Honda - Nilton Santos Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - February 8, 2020 Botafogo's Keisuke Honda during press conference REUTERS/Alexandre Loureiro

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda hopes he can help Botafogo rediscover some of their past glories after he joined the Brazilian Serie A club last week.

Botafogo have in recent years been in the shadow of Rio rivals Flamengo, Vasco da Gama and Fluminense.

Although they captured the Rio State Championship for the 21st time in 2018, they have not claimed the Serie A title since 1995 and have never won the Copa Libertadores, South America's premier club competition.

Honda said he hopes to bring about a more successful spell at the club.

"That is a great opportunity for me and for everyone here," Honda was quoted as saying by

"We can all work to improve together. I want to contribute with my experience."

Honda was greeted by thousands of ecstatic fans at the Rio airport on Friday and the 33-year-old said he had never witnessed such a passionate welcome.

Thousands more turned out at Botafogo's home ground to see him at an official presentation on Saturday.

Honda, who played for clubs in Italy, Russia, Australia, Mexico and Japan in a globe-trotting career, joined from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem. Local media reported that he had signed an 11-month deal.

He has an option to leave after the Tokyo Olympics concludes in August. Honda did not say whether he plans to play in the Games as one of the team's over-aged players.

Honda is not expected to make his Botafogo debut until the end of February.

Fans hope he can help Botafogo win the Rio state championship that kicked off last month and also halt the march of Rio rivals Flamengo, who dominated Brazilian football last year, winning the Serie A and the Copa Libertadores.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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