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Melbourne Heart's Terra almost signed for Suwon Bluewings

Alex Terra's agent has revealed he was close to signing in Korea with Suwon Bluewings before his Melbourne Heart move.

Steve Panopoulos, owner and director of management agency Stellar Brasil based in Rio, said that the Brazilian striker was all set to join the K-League club before a chance meeting with Heart coach John van 't Schip.

"Alex really hadn't entertained the idea of coming to Australia at all beforehand," said Panopoulos.

"In January, I was very close to signing him [Terra] to Suwon Bluewings in Korea where I already have two players.

"The [Suwon] coach came here, and we had several meeting with him and at the last minute they went for another player.

"I then signed Alex to Rio Branco to play in the Paulista Championship really as a shop window for coaches to come and watch him in action.

"Then John came here."

Panouplous, a former South Melbourne player in the old National Soccer League, said that van 't Schip's influence and the opportunity to come to Australia were the overrding factors in Terra's decision to join the Heart.

"What really did it for him was the lifestyle in Australia, after speaking to friends that had been to Australia, they spoke really well of the country, the city of Melbourne was a huge factor, and the clincher was John van't Schip," added Panopoulos.

"His history in football is amazing, what he achieved as a player and his philsophy on football was what really convinced Alex.

"He is a fantastic down to earth guy given what he has achieved in football. On one of the days he was here, I took him to watch Flamengo versus Botafogo in my corporate box.

"And that day I also had two Inter Milan directors as guests there, and they immediately recognised him because of his four year stint at Genoa in Italy.

"This shows what the man's importance is in football today. And for Melbourne Heart to have recruited him is unbelievable."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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