‘I played for Barcelona and Brazil – but my best days were at Hull’

It isn't speaking about his time with boyhood club Cruzeiro or spell with Barcelona that gets Geovanni emotional – but his two seasons at Hull City under Phil Brown.

The 43-year-old former Brazil international made the switch to Yorkshire back in 2008 after a single season with Manchester City – having played in a Champions League semi-final for Barcelona in 2002.

Geovanni would go on to make 93 appearances for the club and score 19 goals across his two seasons, with their eventual relegation under Iain Dowie not ruining his happy memories.

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Speaking to The Athletic, Geovanni said this week: "Hull was like a family to me. It was real friendship: we all really cared about each other. I talked to Ian Ashbee just yesterday. He was our captain, an exceptional guy."

He added: "It was a small-town atmosphere and I felt at home there. The club really got under my skin."

Having admitted: "It was a dream for me. Those may have been the best days of my life as a footballer."

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Having been able to list off 12 great team-mates, including Nicky Barmby and Dean Windass, Geovanni noted that even speaking about the club leaves him holding back tears.

Across a career that included helping Benfica end their 11-year wait for the Portuguese league title and playing alongside Xavi, Geovanni might well be best remembered for his time in Hull.

As well as scoring their first ever Premier League goal on his debut against Fulham, he netted a 25-yard equaliser against Arsenal before they recorded a historic 2-1 win away at the Emirates.

The week after, the Brazilian netted a 30-yard free-kick in a win over Tottenham, later scoring against Manchester United in finishing their top scorer – as Brown's men avoided relegation.

Calling the decision to join Hull one of the "best decisions of his life", he also highlighted Brown's understanding of the game as one of the best of any manager he worked with.

Having left the club after the following season ended in relegation, Geovanni went on to play for San Jose Earthquakes, Vitoria, America-MG and Bragantino before his 2013 retirement.


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