In modern football the word flop gets thrown around on an all too regular basis. Vast sums of money are flung at a footballer who doesn’t warrant it and off into the sunset they ride on a golden chariot filled with cash from merely sitting on a bench.
That was the story for one player at Celtic at the turn of the millennium, a man who will do enough to send shudders through those at Parkhead, as well as the coaching staff at the time – John Barnes and Kenny Dalglish.
The unfortunate flop in question is Rafael Scheidt, someone who earned three caps for Brazil in the cycle running up to their triumphant 2002 World Cup campaign. Those appearances were rather unwarranted as his club side handed sweeteners to the national team in order to sell the player on for a high price.
And indeed at the time, they fetched a fee that quite frankly they had no right to command – £5m. The rumour goes that Barnes had never watched Scheidt in action besides videotapes of his performances.
That may be common practise for a manager now but they have a plethora of scouts who deeply analyse a player’s qualities. However, it doesn’t appear as though that was the case for the centre-back who ultimately cost a seven-figure sum.
But why was he such a disaster? Well, he only played five games for Celtic and cost them a grand total of £20,000 per week from the wage bill. For a man who played such little football and for someone who had been rarely-seen, he was ransacking the club’s pockets.
As it happens, it rather summed up Barnes’ tenure – he was sacked after just a few months and replaced by Dalglish.
Scheidt ended up spending three years on the books of Celtic, although two of them were on loan with Corinthians. His chances of playing out the rest of his contract following that spell came to a halt following a failure to gain a work permit. Funnily enough, that was because he never played for Brazil ever again.
If the defender was playing now, he’d have become a humorous internet meme for millennials but fortunately, his exposure in Glasgow was slim during 1999 and 2000. As such, he’s a name worth forgetting despite his rather remarkable story.
Arriving aged 23, one teammate famously commented on the central defender, exclaiming: “the guy couldnae trap a bag of cement.” It’s a comical reference but it summed up his time at Celtic Park – one where he very rarely actually kicked a football.
He wasn’t good enough and the coaching staff very quickly realised that. Scheidt is undoubtedly one of the strangest and worst signings in Celtic’s proud history.