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Fullname: Rafael Felipe Scheidt
aka: Rafael Scheidt
Born: 10 Feb 1976
Birthplace: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Signed: 1999 (£5.6m from Gremio)
Left: 2000 (write-off)
Position: Defender, Centre-half
Debut: Celtic 6-2 Dundee, SPL, 1 Mar 2000
Internationals: Brazilian
International Caps 5
International Goals 0

Biog Scheidt, Rafael - Pic

The signing of Rafael Sheidt for almost 5 million pounds, on the basis of a video cobbled together by his agent, was one of the worst signings in Celtic's history. Arguably the worst [in financial terms]. It was certainly a factor in manager John Barnes getting sacked (amongst the whole litany of other errors). The Guardian newspaper rated him the second worst transfer in the history of football in an article published in 2001.

Not only was he a poor player - slow, unskillful, and lazy - but he seemed cursed from the moment he arrived in Glasgow. He was clearly unfit, and was taken to hospital with appendicitis on the eve of his debut. He caused himself a serious injury after colliding with a teammate in training. And then he got mixed up with a scandal about the Brazilian national coach taking bribes to let unknown players get a couple of matches for the Brazilian team, in order to boost their value. As one teammate said, "the guy couldnae trap a bag of cement".

To be fair on the guy, some had commented that he had ability but he never had a chance to show it at all, and the price tag became an unfair burden on him. Truth was that many had never seen him play a full game and gave him time to settle in. Although reported as having made 16 appearances with the Brazilian national team, it turned out on closer inspection that 13 of those were with the Brazilian OLYMPIC team.

Kenny Dalglish is said to have been the instigator for his move, having watched him on videos alone and recommended him. Barnes admitted, seemingly unembarrassed, that he had never seen him play live: he was signed based on a video of his finest moments (though bizarrely it later transpired that these had all been harvested from matches in which Gremio (his former club) had suffered heavy defeats). John Colquhoun and David Low were dispatched to Brazil to do the deal with Gremio as no one could be spared from the playing side at Celtic Park. Gremio played a waiting game saying that Celtic were "....just one of a number of European clubs wanting the player," citing Fiorentina, Hertha Berlin and Marseille. Jim Hone was despatched to Brazil to do the deal and he was probably the only Celtic employee to see him play. Gremio knocked back £3million then 4 and finally agreed to £4.8 million "because Celtic were willing to pay it in one lump sum".

Rafael duly arrived in Glasgow on 15th December 1999 to conduct personal terms and undergo a medical with the deal ultimately resting on him winning a work permit. The work permit was duly granted on the 21st December 1999.

Gremio, his original club, were later pursued on fraud charges through the Brazilian courts and Celtic were drawn into the case when it emerged that his transfer fee basically saved Gremio who had been unable to pay their players at the time. There then emerged further allegations of fraudulent passports and nationality papers, with generous massaging of national appearance statistics, some of which were evident in Rafael's transfer. John Colquhoun went on record to say that he was aware of the fraud probe and that he believed that the inquiry would establish that there was no impropriety in either his role or that of anyone else in Britain. Nobody heard anything about the outcome of the inquiry and there were many Brazilian footballers and transfers implicated in the deals.

After all that, he won his debut against Dundee in a 6-2 win in March 2000, and then he managed to finally get his first start for the first team in a 4-1 victory over St Johnstone. He was curiously the star attraction in those matches but that's really as good as it got for him sadly. However, little more to say as overall he didn't convince that he had the making of a player let alone one with the price tag he had. After the few starts he ended up out for the rest of the season following a training ground collision which caused knee ligament damage. He'd been given a handful of matches, plus friendlies & reserve games. Nada!

There was too much baggage, the management was in turmoil and the support was disillusioned with the current set-up. In fairness, he had come into an environment which any newcomer would find difficult to settle into, let alone one from Latin America to Scotland. That has to be remembered here. His failure at the club was not alone all his fault. He was a pawn in what some see as a dubious transfer.

Only a handful of appearances in the hoops, and he was loaned out to Corinthians, where he played somewhat better, though made Celtic fans nervous by his promising to come back and "make the next year a Scheidt year" (sic!), not a thought the Celtic support especially fancied. He eventually went back to Brazil, and later played in Shaanxi province in China before hanging up his boots.

In short, a humiliating disaster for Celtic with a very unfortunate surname, which for the crueller wits within our support it allowed them a humorous way to summarise his his time at the club. Maybe if he hadn't that injury at the start then things could have been a bit different (or a little less worse?). We'll never know now.

Playing Career

APPEARANCES LEAGUE SCOTTISH CUP LEAGUE CUP EUROPE TOTAL
1999-2000 1(2) 0 0 0 1(2)
Goals:00000
( ) = Substitute Appearances

Honours with Celtic

none

Quotes

sambafoot.com: "You were one of [those] rare Brazilians to have played in Scotland. What can you say to us about your experience?"
Raphael Scheidt: "This experience unfortunately was not good for me because I almost did not play. I was quickly injured and I was far away from the pitch for nearly 9 months. Nevertheless, the stay in Scotland was enriching for me and my family. Professionally it was really difficult.... I could not show my real value and my potential which had me selected in national team in 1999." (Interview with www.sambafoot.com, source)

On his loan move back to Brazil in September 2000:
"I am leaving this hell which has been unbearable for me.
"I have suffered a massive process of rejection here.
"Football is ping-pong with the ball going back and forward.
"Martin O'Neill told me he thinks I am not good enough to play at Celtic. He told me to tackle harder, fight for every single ball and elbow my opponents.
"I told him I couldn't do that and he thought I never followed his instructions.
"Celtic were trying to send me on loan to an English club but I refused to go there.
"I'm happy to be going back to a big team, one that is capable of winning championships.
"I am also moving closer to my family and that will help me and my chances of getting back to the international team."

Pictures

Links


The Curious Case of: Raphael Scheidt

Celtic’s 'Brazil international defender' lived up to his name, but not his reputation. Dan Brennan explains how the club blew around £9 million for ten appearances

In February, the Maracana was the scene of a humiliating defeat for fallen Brazilian giants Botafogo as they were felled by regional nobodies Americano in the semi-finals of the Rio de Janeiro state championship. Failing to marshal their back-line was a man who, if you’re a Celtic fan, would have prompted flickers of recognition and perhaps an involuntary shudder. Rafael, as they call him nowadays, is a bit older and sports a jazzy new blond hairstyle. But beneath the coiffure, he is still, by all accounts, Scheidt.

The John Barnes era at Celtic, brief as it was calamitous, spawned many disastrous signings, but if ever there was one that epitomised its awfulness it was the Brazilian “defender”. Scheidt arrived at Parkhead from Gremio in December 1999 for £4.8 million on a four-and-a-half-year deal, rumoured to be worth £20,000 a week. Barnes admitted, seemingly unembarrassed, that he had never seen him play live: he was signed based on a video of his finest moments (though bizarrely it later transpired that these had all been harvested from matches in which Gremio had suffered heavy defeats). But the tape had, apparently, also been tantalising enough to attract a gaggle of top Italian clubs, including AC Milan, who would never go for a defensive dud, surely? Celtic claimed a coup.

Yet even before Scheidt had played a game, the portents were not good. The day before his in­tended debut, appendicitis struck. Once he recovered, he collided with a colleague in training and was again crocked. In his first six months in Scotland he barely managed a total of 90 minutes, by which time Barnes had already been found out and given the boot.

Scheidt, though, had pedigree. He was, after all, a Brazil international. But his three caps had all come in meaningless friendlies. Suspicions were later roused by rumours that players were being handed caps in return for sweeteners from their clubs wanting to offload them to Europe.

The Parkhead image-makers insisted on ditching the family name and calling him “Rafael”, annoying his father. But the rebranding effort couldn’t disguise that there was nothing of the Renaissance Man about him. No timing, no speed and, according to reports emanating from training, precious little ball control.

When Martin O’Neill was tasked with bringing order to the mayhem left by Barnes and Kenny Dalglish, he gave the Brazilian a chance. But having seen him run ragged in a friendly with Irish side Bray Wanderers, it didn’t take the new boss long to get the measure of his man. Scheidt himself later told the Sunday Herald that O’Neill had hinted at his likely fate: “I like footballers who are not like you,” the Celtic boss had explained. “I like footballers who play well.”

Scheidt got the message and, after a total of ten games, packed his bags in December 2000, going on loan to Corinthians. Not, though, before leaving details of his Brazilian bank account. Briefly, when his loan spell came to an end in late 2002, there were panicked reports that he might resurface at Parkhead for the last 18 months of his contract. “I want this year to be known as the Scheidt year,” the player confirmed earnestly, in an interview with the Sunday Herald. “Those who doubt my ability are talking rubbish. If Celtic bought me, it was because they know I can play football at the level required. I have plenty of hunger and desire, all I ask for is a chance.”

Thankfully, the fact that he hadn’t played again for Brazil since those dubious friendlies meant he couldn’t get a work permit. The East End of Glasgow heaved a collective sigh of relief; he joined Atlético Mineiro instead. Remarkably, they even made him captain. Having since moved to Botafogo last year, he is now with his fourth top-flight Brazilian club. Reports say he has occasionally been known to have a decent game.

Long gone he may be, but as the Hoops’ annual report noted in June 2004: “Last year’s exceptional costs mainly reflected the early termination of Rafael Scheidt’s contract and registration.” He cost maybe as much as £4.68m in wages, for ten games. Every time O’Neill complains about a lack of transfer funds, it is hard not to feel the pall of Scheidt over Parkhead.

From WSC 218 April 2005;
When Saturday Comes (magazine) 218 Apr 05





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