|Daegu FC's Brazilian ace Cesar Fernando Silva Dos Santos, better known as Cesinha, celebrates after his team beat Suwon Samsung Bluewings 3-1 during the K League 1 eighth-round match at the DGB Park in Daegu, June 21. / Courtesy of K League|
By Jhoo Dong-chan
Cesar Fernando Silva Dos Santos, better known as Cesinha, said he wants to become a naturalized South Korean to represent the country on the national team. Daegu FC's ace midfielder is often considered to be the best foreign footballer in the K League 1.
The 30-year-old Brazilian told Brazilian media that he is confident he will be a great partner with South Korea's iconic football star Son Heung-min at international tournaments such as the World Cup once he becomes naturalized.
Daegu FC Executive Director Cho Kwang-rae confirmed Cesinha's comment.
"He wants to become a Korean," Cho said during a media conference before the team's K League 1 match against Gangwon FC on Saturday. Daegu won 2-1 in the game with Cesinha scoring the game-winning goal on a penalty.
"His technique is unique and game changing. Son is definitely going to enjoy more space if he plays with Cesinha at the national level. Cesinha will be more powerful especially against teams that focus more on defense."
Daegu FC's acting head coach Lee Byung-keun said he wants to help Cesinha in the naturalization process. "I'd like to help him. He will be a great boost," Lee said after the team's game against Gangwon FC.
According to related laws, Cesinha is already qualified to become a Korean since he has lived more than five years in the country. The only hurdle is the Korean fluency test.
Becoming a South Korean is one thing, but representing the country at the national level is another. It's obviously up to South Korean national football team manager Paulo Bento whether he will choose Cesinha for the squad.
Cesinha came to Korea in 2016 to join Daegu FC on loan. He helped the team to jump into the K League 1 from the K League 2, scoring 11 goals in his debut season.
With Daegu, he has scored 27 goals in 83 appearances between 2017 and 2019. He has also scored six goals in eight appearances this season.