RIO DE JANEIRO – Gamba Osaka’s Brazilian striker Patric is considering applying for Japanese citizenship with an eye on playing for Japan at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, Brazilian media reported Friday.
The 28-year-old Patric joined Gamba in July 2014 and played a pivotal role in helping them win a domestic treble that year in the club’s first season back in the top flight.
He scored 12 league goals in 32 appearances last year and bagged a double as Gamba beat Urawa Reds 2-1 to retain the Emperor’s Cup on New Year’s Day.
“If I stay in Japan for two more years then I can apply for Japanese citizenship,” Patric was quoted as saying.
“It is difficult to find a player in my position (as a striker) with the attributes that I have. If I can maintain my form, breaking into the national team would only be a matter of time.”
The former Ventforet Kofu and Kawasaki Frontale hit man added that playing at the World Cup “is a dream every player has and would serve as a motivator.”
In taking Japanese citizenship, Patric would follow in the footsteps of such Brazilian-born players as Marcus Tulio Tanaka, Alessandro Santos, Wagner Lopes and Ruy Ramos.
Patric was racially abused by an Urawa supporter on Twitter in November and described the posts as “disappointing” and “cruel.”
“There were really disappointing and cruel, racially abusive posts. Anyone would be hurt by these,” he tweeted.
“I’m really proud to be black. My son is black and we are really happy. Only God knows how sad I am with this case.
“This is the first time I’ve faced racial discrimination and I never dreamt of being on the receiving end in this country. I really like and respect this country. For me this is the most well-mannered and cultured country in the world.”