Willian quits Brazil Corinthians, eyes return to England

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SAO PAULO (AP) — Former Chelsea and Arsenal winger Willian terminated his contract with Brazil’s Corinthians on Friday and said he would return to England to play.

Brazilian media have linked Willian, 34, with a move to Premier League club Fulham.

Willian also said in a TV Globo interview that he left Corinthians because of threats he and his family received through social media.

“The reason I’m leaving is the threats I’ve suffered, my family too. They never stopped. Every time Corinthians lost and I wasn’t doing well in the game, my family would get these threats, these insults on social media,” Willian said. “I know it’s not most fans, it’s a minority, but it has a big impact, especially to my daughters.

Corinthians have confirmed that Willian has been released from his contract, which was due to expire in December 2023. He returned to the Sao Paulo club, where he started his career, a year ago.

“My goal is to live abroad. I have a UK passport so I can live there with my family,” Willian added. “I don’t have a club yet. I will decide once there.

Willian will leave Corinthians after a frustrating year in his homeland, having scored just one goal in 45 appearances. The winger had recently been plagued with shoulder and thigh injuries.

Willian’s decision comes just days after Flamengo eliminated Corinthians in the Copa Libertadores quarter-finals.

Willian’s best moments were at Chelsea, where he played from 2013-20. He won two Premier League titles and a Europa League trophy. But at Arsenal he was a far cry from his previous form; he only scored once for the club.

The winger played for Brazil in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

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