SPORTS

One Brazilian arrives just as another may be leaving Panathinaikos

Brazilian striker Rodrigo Souza arrived yesterday in Athens to join his new club, Panathinaikos, after his transfer from Flamengo. «Panathinaikos and the prospect of the Champions League is a challenge for me,» he said on arrival at the airport. Souza was set to go to the Olympic Stadium late last night to watch his new teammates face Georgia’s Dinamo Tbilisi in the second qualifying round of the Champions League. Meanwhile, Premiership club Portsmouth is determined to make another bid to sign Panathinaikos midfielder Marcelo Mattos, according to British media. After the concession of midfielder Sulley Muntari to Inter Milan, the English Cup winners are about to try once again to lure the Brazilian to the Premiership, following their failed effort in June. Pompey, as the English club is affectionately known, tried earlier this summer to lure Mattos to Fratton Park by making a generous offer to the player’s agent and part-owner of his rights, Pini Zahavi, but Panathinaikos bought out the remaining rights to the defensive midfielder. The UK press claims Panathinaikos might be willing to consider an offer near 7.5 million euros now that it has acquired a top class defensive midfielder in Gilberto Silva from Arsenal. Mattos now holds an Italian passport, so he is more attractive to English clubs. Yet Panathinaikos coach Henk ten Cate is not willing to let him go as he intends to pair him up with Gilberto Silva in what the Dutch manager considers the linchpin of his lineup.