Soccer-Willian leaves Corinthians after death threats

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Brasileiro Championship - Corinthians v Juventude - Neo Quimica Arena, Sao Paulo, Brazil - June 11, 2022 Corinthians' Willian in action REUTERS/Carla Carniel/File Photo

(Reuters) - Brazil forward Willian has left local side Corinthians after receiving death threats, the former Arsenal and Chelsea player said.

The 34-year-old went on a free transfer to Corinthians last summer, but the return has been everything but pleasant for the winger who has 70 caps for the Brazilian national team since his debut in 2011.

On Friday, Willian told that he will return to Europe and that he had terminated the contract with the club. English media has linked him to Premier League club Fulham FC.

"I did not come to Brazil to get threatened," Willian told reporters for the Globo Esporte.

"Whenever Corinthians lost and if sometimes I was not doing well in the game, my family received threats, and curses on social media.

"My wife, my daughters, after a while (they) also started attacking my father, and my sister."

Willian has been attacked by some of the fans over poor performance in the field, as Corinthians was eliminated from two important competitions in recent weeks, despite the team being second place in the Brazilian league.

"Corinthians accepted the dismissal of the athlete, the anticipation of the end of the contract. Willian alleged private and family problems and the desire to leave Brazil. Corinthians is sorry, but respects the player's decision," Corinthians said in statement.

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk and Peter Frontini in Sao Paulo; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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