Ewerthon: Borussia Dortmund’s brilliant Brazilian who should never have left

Brazillian players have certainly had some success in the Bundesliga in recent years. Giovane Elber starred for Bayern Munich – becoming the club’s all-time top foreign goalscorer – towering defender Lucio was a colossus at the back for Die Roten and Marcio Amoroso finished as Borussia Dortmund’s top goalscorer when they won the league in 2001/02. During their title triumph that year, the Ruhr-based side had another Brazillian who was quietly making a name for himself: Ewerthon.

He was not the most prolific forward to grace German shores but his time with Dortmund is always remembered fondly. Joining in the summer of 2001, Ewerthon arrived with a glowing reputation from his exploits with Corinthians. A young, raw South American talent with copious amounts of flair and a keen eye for goal, he was destined to leave a positive mark in Europe.

Ewerthon joined a roster of talented stars including Tomas Rosicky, Jan Koller, Lars Ricken and Amoroso. A wide-eyed 20-year-old, the Brazilian youngster would go on to play 37 times in his first campaign, notching 10 goals from the left-wing.

In the latter stages of his inaugural season, he would enjoy perhaps the finest moment of his career, scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 victory away at Werder Bremen to seal the Bundesliga title. It was certainly not the most aesthetically pleasing strike of his career, in fact, he simply scrambled the ball into an empty net, but it was of vital importance.

It had not taken long for Ewerthon to establish himself on the continent, with his impressive wide play earning universal plaudits. After their success in 2001/02, Dortmund would go into decline with the likes of Amoroso failing to live up to their past heroics, however, Ewerthon continued to ply his trade in an effective manner.

He would be called up to the Brazil squad between the years of 2001 and 2003, making seven appearances for the Selecao and scoring 37 Bundesliga goals in the next three years with Dortmund. In 2005, the famous German club descended into financial chaos and were forced to offload their most valuable assets, a scenario which would prove fatal to Ewerthon’s progress.

Spanish side Real Zaragoza took the gamble with the Brazilian star replacing the departing David Villa who, as we all know, went on to make La Liga his own personal footballing playground. Initially, Ewerthon forged a functional coalition with well-known Argentine striker, Diego Milito, scoring 12 goals in all competitions.

He and Milito produced a memorable performance against Spanish giants Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey, beating Los Blancos 6-1 with the South American duo slicing through the Galacticos’ defence. Milito would score the first four, including a first half hat-trick and Ewerthon capped off the indelible performance with a well-taken brace, his second a wonderful half-volley.

However, after his first season, his involvement with the team declined, being shipped out on loan to Stuttgart and Espanyol with little reprieve. The only solace in his Zaragoza career was when the Spanish outfit dropped town to the Segunda Liga for the 2008/09 season. Here, in a lower quality environment, Ewerthon rediscovered his goal scoring touch, notching 28 strikes to send the club back into La Liga. Nevertheless, the top flight would be cruel on the Brazilian once again and it seemed his career in Europe was at an end.

Aside from a sporadic showing with Russian side Terek Grozny, Ewerthon was a forgotten entity on the continent, but for a while at the start of the millennium, he looked destined for the top. Sadly, as is the case with a fair number of South American migrants, he faded into footballing obscurity.