Camilo Sanvezzo sold to Mexican club
Brazilian had been practising with Queretaro F.C. in recent weeks
Camilo Sanvezzo finally got his wish.
The Vancouver Whitecaps sold the 25-year-old striker to Mexico's Queretaro F.C. on Friday, ending a messy dispute that had dragged on for weeks.
The Whitecaps said in a release announcing the deal that the transfer was for a "multi-million dollar fee."
Last season's Major League Soccer Golden Boot winner with 22 goals, Sanvezzo had been practising with Queretaro and was even photographed wearing the club's jersey in a picture that circulated quickly on Twitter.
That drew the ire of the Whitecaps, who believed that the flashy Brazilian was still their property after picking up his contract option for next season.
Team also loses Lewis
The Vancouver Whitecaps can't seem to catch a break.
One day after selecting Andre Lewis seventh overall in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft, news broke that the diminutive Jamaican midfielder had already agreed to a contract with the New York Cosmos of the second-tier North American Soccer League.
The deal with the 19-year-old Lewis that was first reported by Goal.com on Friday was confirmed by a Cosmos spokesman to The Canadian Press.
The revelation that Lewis won't be joining Vancouver came the same day that the Whitecaps announced the sale of Sanvezzo to Mexico's Queretaro F.C.
Lewis seemed ecstatic to be drafted by the Whitecaps when he spoke to reporters on a conference call after Thursday's draft.
"I'm a fan of Vancouver because of Darren Mattocks," said Lewis, referencing the Whitecaps striker and fellow Jamaican. "I love the support that the fans give to Vancouver. I'm looking forward to starting my professional career with the Whitecaps and to just go there and work hard and do my best."
Sanvezzo joined Vancouver in 2011, scoring 39 goals in 92 league games, including 75 starts. The Whitecaps scored 53 goals in MLS play last season, with Sanvezzo playing a part in 28 of them.
The Whitecaps — who will get two-thirds of the transfer fee with MLS pocketing the rest — tried to put a positive spin on a situation that can only be described as a disaster both on and off the field with pre-season training set to start next week.
"We have made the decision to part ways with Camilo Sanvezzo," Whitecaps rookie head coach Carl Robinson said in a statement. "In doing so, we were able to negotiate a club-record transfer fee that will give us additional flexibility as we continue to build our club for the upcoming season and beyond."
Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said at a press conference last week that no discussions on a transfer fee between his club and Queretaro regarding Sanvezzo had taken place.
But with Sanvezzo forcing Vancouver's hand by basically thumbing his nose at both the team and league, that clearly changed.
Queretaro president Adolfo Rios apologized in the same statement released by the Whitecaps for the way in which the situation was handled.
"On behalf of our club, we sincerely regret our misunderstanding in regards to Camilo's contract earlier in the process," the statement read.
Sanvezzo made US$247,500 last season, which put him third on the team, but that number paled in comparison to fellow striker Kenny Miller's salary of nearly $1.25 million.
Lenarduzzi said last week that the Whitecaps were open to the possibility of renegotiating Sanvezzo's contract, but added that no discussions had taken place.
"I would suggest that the world that I live in, a contract is a contract," Lenarduzzi said at the time. "There's no suggestion that we would not have sat down with him and actually looked at a new contract."
The loss of Sanvezzo is a major blow to both the club and Robinson, who replaced the fired Martin Rennie last month.
It creates an obvious hole up front on a team that missed the playoffs last season, but Sanvezzo's spectacular departure also leaves the Whitecaps looking weak from a public relations perspective after the player simply refused to honour his contract.
The off-season was anything but quiet for the Whitecaps before the Sanvezzo soap opera took centre stage in the new year.
The team took six weeks to name a new coach, with Vancouver striking out in its attempt to hire former United States national team boss Bob Bradley before settling on Robinson — one of Rennie's assistants.
Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks also went on Jamaican television and expressed his displeasure with how he was used during the 2013 campaign.
Vancouver plays its first MLS regular-season game March 8 at B.C. Place Stadium against the New York Red Bulls.