(Reuters) - A fan of Brazilian club Internacional gave his team a no-strings attached sum of almost $200,000 on Friday, in what appeared to be a gift to ensure one of their top players can play in a potentially historic league match this weekend.
“Internacional this Friday received a 1 million real ($185,794.18) donation from Elusmar Maggi Scheffer,” the club, known as the Colorado, or the Reds, said in a statement.
“The Colorado fan … signed an agreement that gives the club the money with no strings attached. Our sincerest thanks.”
Although a spokesman for Internacional refused to say what the money would be used for he acknowledged the two clubs had an agreement that stopped Rodinei from playing for Internacional against Flamengo unless the Porto Alegre side paid 1 million reais.
Brazilian media said the money would ensure Rodinei's participation and identified Maggi Scheffer as a wealthy farmer from the country's centre-west region.
The 29-year old right back joined Inter from Flamengo on loan last year and has been a regular starter in their successful campaign so far.
Inter are currently top of Brazil’s Serie A table one point ahead of Flamengo, with two games to go.
The two sides meet on Sunday at the Maracana stadium and a win for Inter would secure their first title since 1979.
($1 = 5.3823 reais)
(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Chris Reese)