In this new series, we will be taking a look at some forgotten stars from over the years in the Premier League and more. We’re starting with Elano Blumer, known simply as Elano, who played for Manchester City between 2007 and 2009.
Elano – who is he?
I honestly thought Elano was somebody everybody remembered from the Premier League era, but after a couple of conversations with friends and family, that turned out not to be the case.
Elano, who hails from Brazil, represented Manchester City for two years in the late noughties and was joined the club a year before the club was bought by the current owner, Sheikh Mansour.
Currently 38-years-old, he has been retired from football for the last five years having finished his career with Santos, the club where it all began for him.
He played in attacking midfield primarily, but also had the ability to play on either wing. Filled with technical ability, Elano had all the necessary prerequisites to become a top, top player – but it never happened for him.
His time at Manchester City
Elano’s time at City was the most fruitful period of his entire career. He represented the sky blues on 80 occasions, more than he did any other team over the course of his career.
In those 80 games, Elano found the back of the net on 18 occasions, registering 11 assists too. The only team he ever scored more for was Shakhtar Donetsk, whom he signed for Manchester City from for £7m in August 2007.
Early on in his career at Manchester City, he had tails wagging with some glorious displays of technical ability. It took a few games to settle in, as it does for most players who arrive from foreign shores, but once he did, he had fans very excited.
On his debut, he managed to grab an assist for the opening goal, providing the cross to give City the lead against West Ham. He went on to bag an assist in each of the first three games of the season.
However, it was his first goal that really sparked his City career into life. It came eight games into the season as City welcomed Newcastle to the then City of Manchester Stadium.
Having fallen behind early, they were in a tough match but they fought back with goals either side of half time to lead. When Nicky Butt committed a foul 30 yards from goal in the 87th minute, Elano took the responsibility. He whipped a vicious free-kick into the top corner to wrap up the points.
That set off a bit of a chain reaction too as, in the very next game, Elano bagged a brace in another 3-1 win, this time over Middlesbrough.
He scored yet another direct free-kick and fans started to get very excited about this lad. The Brazilian scored in the next game too, netting the only goal in a 1-0 win over Birmingham to make it four in three.
With Sven Goran Eriksson at the helm of the City team during this period, the team had really begun to over-achieve in the first half of the season. By the time Christmas rolled around, City were flirting with the Champions League spots – although that wasn’t to last.
Elano’s partnership in the middle of the park with Michael Johnson was a big part of City’s success in the early going. An injury to Johnson for the second half of the season seriously disrupted the balance of the team. He and Elano had linked up incredibly well in the first half of the year, but the injury was a big blow.
In the second half of the season, Elano wasn’t quite as impactful in games but still had a creative influence on the season. He bagged a further four goals in the league, weirdly, three of them came against the teams he had scored against in the first half of the season.
Of his eight goals in the Premier League during the 2007/08 season, seven of them came against one of Middlesbrough, Newcastle or Birmingham. The only other team to concede to him in his first year in the Premier League was Sunderland – completing the trifecta of north east teams.
He managed to have the final say in the season for City, scoring a wonder-goal on the final day of the season in an 8-1 humiliation at the Riverside. Sven Goran Eriksson was sacked in the summer as Sheikh Mansour took over the club, and thus began a series of events that would eventually see Elano leave too.
City brought in Mark Hughes as manager for the 08/09 season and, thanks to their fresh injection of cash, spent some big money on the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips and, compatriot to Elano, Robinho.
These signings would hamper Elano and his impact at the club. He started the season in inspired form, bagging three goals in the first two games of the season, putting him top of the Premier League scorer charts alongside Gabby Agbonlahor.
After that, the arrival of Robinho took centre stage as City entered their new era, stepping onto the path that saw them become the team we know today. Elano was forgotten about a little and started to end up either on the bench or out of position in order for Hughes to accommodate his new signings.
He spent a lot of his second season playing in left-central midfield, acting as a link between the left-back Javier Garrido and the new man Robinho. In the first game of Robinho’s time in Manchester, he wasn’t even in the team and sat on the bench for the whole game.
Later on in the season, an impressive performance against Hamburg in the UEFA Cup sparked a return to form for Elano. He had scored a penalty in the eventual loss to the German side, and followed it up with another one a few days later against West Brom.
Much to the delight of the fans, Elano was starting to get back to his best at the club, scoring goals and providing a real creative spark in the middle of the pitch. Unfortunately, just as it looked as though he could go on and continue to perform well, the club sold him for £8m to Galatasaray.
It was a shame that things never quite worked out for him at City. He was a fan-favourite and had bags of ability – Elano really could have become a star. Former City striker Craig Bellamy accused Elano of being one of three Brazilians at the club who “didn’t give a sh*t” alongside Robinho and Glauber Berti.
If that’s true, it would explain the clubs desire to get rid of him. Given his ability, they really should have been able to at least secure a profit for Elano, but they only managed to recoup the fee they had paid for him two years previously.
His time at Galatasaray wasn’t great as he scored just seven times in 47 appearances. After two years in Turkey, he headed back to Brazil where he joined up with former team Santos for the second of three spells he had at the club.
His career ultimately fizzled out, which is a crying shame. Despite that, he gave us some great memories, some brilliant goals for the highlight reel and the perfect opener to our ‘Forgotten Stars’ series.