Rivaldo Coetzee speaks about failed £800,000 Celtic move

The Celtic fans display their banners during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on March 12, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Scottish Premiership champions Celtic were on the verge of signing South African defender Coetzee in 2017; only for a broken foot to ruin everything.

Rivaldo Coetzee of South Africa poses for a photograph ahead of the friendly football match between Zambia and South Africa at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on January 4, 2015. AFP...

South African defender Rivaldo Coetzee has admitted to the Mail and Guardian that he is still haunted by his aborted move to Celtic in the summer of 2017.

Back at the start of Brendan Rodgers’ second season in charge of the Scottish Premiership champions, The Hoops were on the verge of snapping up one of the most highly-rated young centre-backs in Africa.


Coetzee, according to the Mail, had all but completed an £800,000 move to Glasgow, only for the deal to fall through in heartbreaking fashion after a medical discovered a broken bone in his foot.


That kick-started a horrific period for the youngster, who was apparently on the verge of retiring from the game altogether just a few months later. Flash forward to 2019, however, and Coetzee has got his career back on track, although he still looks back on that potentially career-changing move to Celtic as a missed opportunity.

“I keep thinking about it. It might not be good for me...but maybe it could be good for my career to think about why they wanted to sign me. There must have been something that I did well for them to see that,” said Coetzee, who is still keen to pursue a move to Europe at some point in the future.

Coetzee Rivaldo South Africa and Gabriel Jesus Brazil at Mane Garrincha Stadium on August 4, 2016 in Brasilia, Brazil.

“I have to try and get back to that level. I’m playing in a different position but it’s always to try and get better: to help the team and contribute to its success. And then, hopefully, another opportunity will arrive.”

Now 23, Coetzee is impressing for South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns, winning the domestic title in each of the last two seasons. He also has 19 international caps under his belt.

So it seems that the only way is up for a player who has bounced back from trauma in typically tenacious fashion.

Rivaldo Coetzee of South Africa kicks the ball during the Men's First Round Group A match between South Africa and Iraq on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Arena Corinthians on...

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