Everton fan George Roberts tries to get to the bottom of Rodrigo’s short-lived Toffees career…
Not the most fashionable outfit in the Premier League (not that it ever stopped Middlesbrough), Everton’s first foray into the Brazilian transfer market was an unmitigated failure. Rodrigo Juliano arrived from Botafogo in the summer of 2002 on a curious £1.25 million temporary deal with an option for a permanent move at another £3 million.
The author, despite being a Blues fan himself, can remember nothing about Rodrigo. Internet sources on Rodrigo are equally sketchy. But for his brief Wikipedia page, you could be forgiven for doubting his existence. A bit of Googling brings us to a fansite, Everton-Mad. Austin Rathe, musing about a preseason game against Wrexham in August 2002, wrote:
‘My betting is that it will be Gravesen and Rodrigo as our two central midfielders, but it is as of yet unclear exactly how fit the Brazilian is.’
This would soon become very clear.
Mr Rathe concluded that Rodrigo ‘looked okay against Wrexham, but that wasn’t a Premiership game. We shall see.’ We soon saw – not that we saw much. The poor Rodrigo was injured in September after four appearances, all as a substitute. He never played again. Sadly, Rodrigo’s knee injury was not properly diagnosed at first, leading to a series of botched operations that compromised any chance of a full recovery.
Rodrigo quietly departed at the end of the season. He then seems to have embarked on a benchwarming tour of Brazil, taking in short stays at Corinthians, Juventude, Atlético Paranaense and Vasco da Gama, Paraná and Fortaleza.
There are further oddities. Apparently he chose to have his name printed as ‘Rodrigol’ on his shirt at Everton – ironic, given there were no Rodrigols to celebrate. Even more bizarrely, he also was known as ‘Rodrigo Beckham’ back in Brazil.
Using this nickname, some more scratching around brings up a host of Portuguese-language webpages. Rodrigo Beckham has picked up his name, it would seem, for his dashing looks and faint resemblance to David himself, which took him from the pitch onto the catwalk. He’s described as being ‘very successful with women’, in one article, though that may be a dodgy translation.
Rodrigo currently works as a television commentator, spends much of his time travelling the world surfing (taking him to a professional meeting at the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia), and runs charity organisations for impoverished children.
This is all getting quite confusing. To return us to the sad, brutal facts about Rodrigo’s Premier League days, one of the few lines that his Wikipedia profile contains provides a neat epitaph:
‘Rodrigo was signed for Everton in July 2002. He was injured in September and never played again before released [sic] in May.’