Convicted killer Bruno on Boa Esporte signing: I deserve a second chance

Goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes, convicted of murdering his girlfriend, said he should not be judged on his past after joining Brazilian club Boa Esporte.

Boa Esporte signed the player, known as Bruno, on a two-year contract and unveiled him at a news conference on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old was convicted of having his girlfriend murdered and her body fed to dogs but served less than one-third of a 22-year sentence and was recently released while he appeals the sentence.

News of Bruno's contract was condemned by relatives of the victim, Eliza Samudio, and attracted widespread criticism.

Sponsors of Boa Esporte withdrew their backing in protest, but on Tuesday club president Rone Moraes said a new sponsor had been lined up and would be announced next week.

Boa Esporte's main sponsor, Gois and Silva, announced that it would withdraw its backing, saying in a statement: "Given the decision to go ahead with the recruitment of Bruno, the Gois and Silva group officially announces that it is no longer a sponsor."

Reports said three further backers had ended their links with the second-tier club.

But he told reporters he felt he deserved a second chance.

He refused to answer questions from reporters who asked whether he felt he would set a good example to children watching.

"People run from me because of what happened in the past," he said.

Asked about the club's loss of their main sponsor due to his signing, he said: "I will leave that question for the president to answer. I have nothing to do with that topic. I am just here to play football.

"When God opens doors, no man should close them. This is best left in the hands of those who are best capable of working on it."

He said he hoped to play for the Brazil national team one day, adding: "Dreaming is never too much. Bruno is alive because of his dreams. Once I dreamed about returning here, and now I have the opportunity.

"I will do my best for Boa, I am going to give it my all. I am going to let it all just happen naturally."

A Boa statement about the decision to offer a contract to 32-year-old Bruno said he "deserves a new opportunity as a professional" and added: "The club has no link to personal actions by Bruno or his past."

Boa Esporte are a second division club in Varginha, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) northwest of Rio de Janeiro. Bruno previously starred for Rio de Janeiro-based Flamengo.

Verdi Lucio Melo, mayor-elect of the southeastern city of Varginha, where the club plays, said he was against the deal but denied a partnership with the club would be ended because of it.

The local government spends R$300,000 annually to pay utility bills, accommodation for players, health professionals and even matchday transport for fans.