The Truth Behind The Jardel Saga
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Jardel during happier times (Allsport)
08/02/2002. When Jardel went on holidays at the end of a winning season last semester, many doubted he would go back to Lisbon for yet another season at Sporting. Therefore, the slow market moves of European football did not allow him to go somewhere else and realize his dream of playing either in Spain or Italy.
The striker went back to Sporting only to ask the club to return to Brazil one more time. The reason? He is about to endure the hardest battle of his life: a break-up in his marriage with Karen Ribeiro.
The football press, especially the Portuguese, have been publishing articles on how sad Jardel is and also on his supposed attempts to reconcile with Karen, the alleged reason for his trip back to Brazil during Sporting`s current pre-season. However, things do not seem to be as they have been being shown.
According to sources close to the Ribeiro family, and that preferred to stay anonymous, the conflict between Jardel and Karen is not new. The couple have not been sharing the same fairy tale joy from the days he met her in Porto Alegre - where he played for Gremio - nor even the happiness of the following years, when they got married and had two children.
The relationship came to a final struggle during the last European summer holidays. In Porto Alegre, Karen´s homeland, Jardel shared little time with his family. He preferred to go out at night in the company of friends and relatives.
Fed up with the fights and the "party animal" behaviour of Jardel, Karen put an end to a seven-year marriage and the player went on exile to Cear? his homeland.
When he realized what had really happened, the fact he had lost his kindred soul of so many years and addresses, Jardel broke down in pieces. He did not even want to go back to Portugal to start the pre-season. It was Karen who had to leave Săo Paulo and go to Fortaleza in order to persuade her ex-husband to travel. Karen, by the way, has always been very concerned with Jardel's professionalism towards football. Lack of care was never a reason for
Jardel to complain about her, something that helped quite a bit on the building of a considerate asset for the family.
All alone, Jardel landed in Portugal only to ask Sporting for permission to go back to Brazil in order to solve his problems: he claimed a desire to reconciliate with his beloved one.
Once more, he ended up in Fortaleza. And that is where the story starts to show a few paradoxes. First of all, Jardel was to be there for an attempt to get back together with Karen, or, at least to come to a friendly agreement with her in the matter of the separation (he says that in an official declaration at his web site). In spite of that, he hired Newton Padilha, a lawyer from Fortaleza, to defend his rights. As Karen still has her rights being defended by a law firm in Săo Paulo, everything indicates that the fight will not be as friendly as thought.
During the period of his absence, which was extended by three days, Jardel never looked for Karen, on the contrary, he hid from her when she tried to find him in Fortaleza. She attempted to see him because the two children, Mario Jardel Filho, 5, and Victoria, 3, missed the father a lot and had only spoken to him in a while over the phone.
But Jardel was not sad and lonely in Fortaleza, drown into a depressive state. Last Sunday, for instance, he threw a mega-party in the family mansion and invited lots of Flamengo players that were there disputing Copa dos Campeőes. Abundant first quality food and drinks cost him a few thousand dollars and were supposed to put his broken heart at ease. Spending mornings at the paradisiac beaches of Ceara state were also part of the "reconciliation" between Jardel and Karen, who stayed in Săo Paulo taking care of the children in a rented apartment.
As far as we could acknowledge, Padilha and Jardel are planning a litigious legal action against Karen so that he can offer her children support rather then having Karen ask for it and likely receiving 30% of Jardel`s monthly salary, which is common practice in the Brazilian law. Having Jardel a monthly salary of 120 thousand dollars, Karen and the children would be getting a little over 35 thousand.
In his official web site, "Super Mário", as he is called in Portugal, declared: "We have decided, in a mutual agreement, without a fight or arguments, to break up in order to be able to analyse calmly the aspects that might be disturbing us as a couple". The fact, however, is that
according to what we could find out so far there is no legal fight going on, but there is a clear indication that there will be one going on soon. Besides that, if there is one party not interested in recociliation, this person is Jardel. Recently, he confessed to close friends that Karen had changed a lot since she became religious.
Another curious fact in the story is that as soon as he arrived in Lisbon, very tired from his vacation in his mansion and all the social life activity he engaged with, the player met with Sporting representatives to define a schedule for the legal hearings he will be involved with. The lawyer, Padilha, calls it "divorce, but according to the Brazilian law a person can only get divorced if one proves to be separated from the other for over two years, which is not the case of Jardel and Karen. On top of that, Padilha seem to have forgotten that a judge is the one who decides on the schedule of the hearings and not the person who proposes the action.
Jardel, worshipped in Portugal and in some places in Brazil as a god, is ready to start the hardest battle of his life. This duel, however, will not take place in one of the many fields he has shown his sharp techniques and the incredible ability to score goals, but in the court rooms of Fortaleza, or Săo Paulo. The object of the dispute? The well-being of two innocent children that have absolutely nothing to do with all that and, of course, the sharing of a large asset built by another couple that had to break the oath "till death do us apart".