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Chinese Super League

Dario Conca, once alongside Ronaldo and Messi as world’s best paid footballer, shows up at new USL side Austin Bold

United Soccer League latest stop in a career that took in Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai SIPG, Brazilian side Fluminense and River Plate

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 September, 2018, 1:20pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 September, 2018, 1:20pm

Dario Conca has never played for his native Argentina but at one point in 2011 he was reported to be the highest paid player in world football behind global superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Those days starring in the Chinese Super League at Guangzhou Evergrande are long behind him and the 35-year-old has signed for Austin Bold FC in the United Soccer League, North America’s second tier.

He has joined the newly founded club based in the Texan capital, ahead of their expected league debut in 2019, and is their eighth signing.

Conca will be joined by Brazilian striker Kleber, former Nigeria international Isaac Promise and Edson Braafheid, who played for the Netherlands in the 2010 Fifa World Cup final.

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They will play in North America’s second tier alongside teams such as the Las Vegas Lights and a number of MLS reserve sides, while they may face Major League Soccer opposition in the US Open Cup.

Conca joined Evergrande from Fluminense in 2011 after the Rio side had won the Brazilian league title, with Conca named player of the year.

He won the Chinese Super League three times and the AFC Champions League in 2013, again winning player of the year honours, before moving back to Fluminense in 2014.

That did not last long as he then moved to Evegrande’s title rivals Shanghai SIPG in 2015.

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His time in Shangai was curtailed by injury and he returned to Brazil, joining Flamengo on loan as he recovered.

He left the Chinese club ahead of this season and the Austin American-Statesman reports that he has been living in Florida prior to signing with the Texan club.