Kampala, Uganda | XINHUA | Former Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou said he hopes to finish his career with Botafogo after arriving in Rio de Janeiro with his Brazilian wife on Saturday.
Kalou agreed to an 18-month contract last month but his move was delayed as he waited for his Brazilian work permit.
“It’s a dream come true to finish my career in Brazil,” the 35-year-old Ivorian told reporters in a virtual news conference.
“I come from Africa and everybody there supports the Brazil national team. It’s an honor to come here, the country of football, and I know I chose the right club.”
Kalou, who parted ways with Germany’s Hertha BSC in June, said he consulted former Dutch great Clarence Seedorf before deciding to join Botafogo.
Seedorf also ended his career with the Alvinegro, helping them qualify for the Copa Libertadores for the first time in 18 years during his spell at the club from 2012 to 2014.
“I spoke with Seedorf and our conversations definitely helped me to make up my mind. I also talked with other players who had great things to say about Botafogo,” Kalou said.
Another factor influencing Kalou’s decision was a desire for his Brazilian wife, Karina Ferreira, to return home.
Kalou is the second high-profile signing for Botafogo in six months following the arrival of Japanese playmaker Keisuke Honda in February.
The attacker’s 17-year professional career has included spells at Feyenoord, Chelsea and Lille. He has been capped 97 times for the Cote d’Ivoire national team, scoring 28 goals.
The Brazilian Serie A season began last weekend, having missed its scheduled May start because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kalou, who has maintained his fitness with a strict personal training program, is expected to make his debut for Botafogo in their home clash against Atletico Mineiro next Wednesday (Aug. 19).