Brazilian star Oscar willing play for China if FIFA change naturalization rules

Oscar moved to Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG for a still-Asian-record €60 million in January 2017. (AFP)
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Updated 27 July 2020

Brazilian star Oscar willing play for China if FIFA change naturalization rules

  • Oscar moved to the Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG in January 2017
  • The Brazilian has been one of the top players in the Chinese Super League since arriving from Chelsea

SHANGHAI: Former Chelsea attacking midfielder Oscar says he would be willing to ditch his Brazilian passport to play for China — if FIFA changed its rules.
Oscar, who moved from the Premier League to Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG for a still-Asian-record €60 million in January 2017, made the last of his 48 appearances for Brazil in 2015.
Under current rules, the 28-year-old cannot switch to play for another country because he featured for Brazil in official competition, including the 2014 World Cup in his homeland.
Asked by state broadcaster CGTN if he would consider playing for China if the naturalization rules changed, Oscar replied: “I can think about it because, as I said, it’s difficult to go to the Brazilian national team now because I’m here.
“But in China everyone sees how good I play so if in the end the China national team needs a good midfielder, I think I can help if they change.
“I like China but the players now, if they change the nationality to go to China, they (the team) can do better.”
As a quick fix to boost their Qatar 2022 World Cup hopes, China last year began naturalizing a few players who had no family links to the world’s most populous country.
The first was Brazilian-born striker Elkeson, 31, who is now known as Ai Kesen and has played four times for China, scoring three goals. At least two other Brazilians are believed to have been naturalized since.
Oscar has been one of the top players in the Chinese Super League since arriving from Chelsea and topped the assists charts over the past two seasons.
SIPG begin their CSL campaign later Monday against Tianjin Teda at a neutral venue behind closed doors, part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections.


Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

Updated 23 September 2020

Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

  • The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99

ORLANDO: Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.

Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in game three to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.

The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.

But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.

With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.

Denver coach Michael Malone said his team — who had suffered an agonizing buzzer-beater defeat in game two on Sunday — were determined not to go 3-0 down in the series.

The Nuggets have already overturned 3-1 series deficits en route to the Western Conference finals.

“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Malone said.

“We have won six straight elimination games. Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go. They’re a very resilient group and they have proved that time and time again.”

Asked about his late flourish, Murray said he had set out to lead by example.

“That’s my whole energy, my whole approach to the game, not getting down if I miss a couple of shots,” Murray said.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive ... but the most important part is the energy I bring when I’m talking to my team-mates, being a vocal leader, getting up and down and pushing everybody so they tend to follow. I just wanted to see them have a lot of fun today.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.

James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.

Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

“You put yourself in an 18-point hole, it’s tough to climb out of that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We didn’t match it early, we matched it late. They’re a great basketball team so credit it to them for the win. They played a really good basketball game.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. We were playing at a high level, but were a little bit off in the first half.

“But I liked the spirit that the guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”