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HomeBundesligaMainz say goodbye to Barreiro, Papela and Ngankam at the fan party

Mainz say goodbye to Barreiro, Papela and Ngankam at the fan party

The dressing room party in Wolfsburg is followed by a celebration with the fans at the Mainz Arena, then it’s off to the Balearic Islands. The farewell is particularly emotional for Leandro Barreiro

After his 141st and last Bundesliga match in a Mainz 05 shirt, the 3:1 win in Wolfsburg, Leandro Barreiro’s eyes filled with tears as the team gathered in front of the Fankurve, where the 5,000 or so FSV supporters celebrating their relegation with the players. It was similarly emotional the following day at the Mewa-Arena. When Barreiro took to the stage at 2.24 pm, the 5,500 fans got particularly loud, which was also the case later with Jonathan Burkardt and Brajan Gruda. After the fan festival, part of the team travels to Mallorca to round off the season.

The 24-year-old Barreiro leaves the club after eight years to join Benfica Lisbon. He was joined by Merveille Papela (23) and Jessic Ngankam (23). Papela’s contract expires, he is looking for a club, Ngankam is on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt until the end of the season. Barreiro’s contract also ends, which is why he can move to Portugal on a free transfer; the 56-time Luxembourg international has Portuguese roots.

On stage, he thanked the cheering fans for “the appreciation I have received from you over the years” and received a special round of applause for his “Once a Mainzer, always a Mainzer!” interlude. The day before in Wolfsburg, he had already credited the 5,000 to 6,000 05 supporters who had traveled with him for “turning an away game into a home game.”

Board Member for Sport Christian Heidel praised: “I have rarely experienced a player like Leo.” The midfielder had been in agreement with Benfica about the transfer for some time, kept Mainz 05 informed of every move and played with open cards. “Because we didn’t want a discussion about personnel,” said the 05 boss, the decision was made to confirm the transfer only after the club had secured its place in the league.

Heidel did not see any danger that Barreiro would no longer be able to play for his training club in the relegation battle: “Leandro has even accepted injuries in order to be successful with Mainz.” With winter signing Nadiem Amiri, Barreiro complemented each other perfectly on the double-six. “He has integrated so quickly. I told him a few weeks ago that I’m glad he’s part of the team and that he’s a great person, regardless of his footballing qualities,” said Barreiro, raving about his partner, whose contract runs until 2026 but contains an exit clause.

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