When the name of Willian was painted as a possible reinforcement of Corinthians, the negotiation seemed unlikely. After all, at 33, the player was at Arsenal, playing in the Premier League, receiving a fortune in England and still having a market in Europe. However, the repercussion of the Corinthians fans and the affection received on social networks weighed in the decision of the attacking midfielder, who returns to the club of his heart after 14 years in the Old Continent.
Revealed in the Parque São Jorge terrace, Willian has a whole history linked to Corinthians, which ended up influencing his return to Brazil. In childhood, at the age of 8, the boy was observed by scouts from Alvinegro while he played at the soccer school of Marcelinho Carioca, also from Corinthians. The invitation came and, from then on, the boy started to wear Timon’s colors. For years, he was Joe’s partner at the base.
Coming from an all Corinthians family, the now attacking midfielder grew up being influenced by his parents to be an Alvinegro fan, which was not such a difficult task to be accomplished. While still in his childhood, as soon as he passed Corinthians, Willian left the city of Ribeirão Pires, in Greater São Paulo, to live in Tatuapé — the neighborhood where Parque São Jorge is located. Willian’s parents rented the family’s house to be able to afford the cost of renting a property in the East Side of São Paulo.
The player stayed with Corinthians until the 2007 season, when he emerged in the first team and, at the age of 19, was sold to Shakhtar Donetsk, from Ukraine, for more than 20 million dollars at the time. Then he went to Russia and England, where he defended Chelsea’s colors for seven seasons and, since last year, he was at Arsenal.
While working in the Old Continent, it was not rare for William to talk about Corinthians without ever hiding his passion. Whenever asked if he would ever return to Brazil, the player made it clear that his priority would be to wear the club colors of his heart.
In this window, the athlete’s desire was to stay in Europe. At 33 years of age and with two World Cups under his belt, the attacking midfielder had a market in the Old Continent and was even approached by other clubs. However, the expression of interest by Corinthians and, mainly, the repercussion and mobilization of the fans on social networks changed Willian’s mind.
When he signed with Arsenal, the attacking midfielder heard from the club an ambitious project to retake the leading role in English football. In the first year, the Gunners didn’t even get a place in international competitions and, this season, the club starts the Premier League with three defeats – one of them a rout – in three rounds, making it the worst team in the English elite today.
The bad moment of Arsenal combined with the support of the Corinthians fans were decisive for Willian to accept the proposal presented by President Duilio Monteiro Alves. The player is the club’s biggest signing in this window and arrives with international star status, something that hasn’t happened with Alvinegro since Alexandre Pato’s arrival in 2013.