Germany: Moenchengladbach releases Giovane Elber after criticism of coach

Giovane Elber was released by Moenchengladbach Saturday after the Brazilian forward criticized his coach earlier this week. Elber, who joined in January from Olympique Lyon on a one-year contract, has left by "mutual" decision, said a club spokesman. Elber was fined Ђ10,000 euros (US$11,700) Friday after publicly complaining about his lack of playing time.

The 33-year-old Elber played just 50 minutes in four matches after his return from a broken shin bone. Moenchengladbach coach Horst Koeppel said he isn't in shape. The club said Elber agreed in a crisis meeting to get into shape within six weeks.

Moenchengladbach said a player could not be allowed to make those remarks publicly. Koeppel also said he did not like being portrayed as a "liar."

Elber has the most goals for a foreigner in Bundesliga history, scoring 133 times for Stuttgart and Bayern Munich.

The Brazilian's fluent German and personality has made him one of Germany's most popular players. His move to Lyon came after Bayern signed Netherlands forward Roy Makaay, the AP reports.

Moenchengladbach fans have often chanted for Elber to play, but Koeppel has said he is reluctant to change a winning lineup. The club, after facing relegation last season, has risen to seventh in the table. A.M.

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