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Peru midfielder Christian Cueva apologises to Sao Paulo after standoff

Christian Cueva

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 4 (UITV/IANS)- Peru international midfielder Christian Cueva has issued a public apology after refusing to play for his football club Sao Paulo last month, the media reported on Sunday.

The 26-year-old was left out of Sao Paulo's first match of the year against Novorizontino after returning from his summer break six days late, reports Xinhua news agency.

When he was told that he would be on the bench for the next match against Mirassol, Cueva asked not to travel with Sao Paulo's squad.

After almost a month on the sidelines, the playmaker returned on Saturday, coming off the bench to score a goal in Sao Paulo's 2-0 victory over Botafogo de Ribeirao Preto in Brazil's Paulista championship.

"I apologised. I owed it to the club, my teammates and the fans," Cueva told reporters.

"Now I just want to help the club. Everybody makes mistakes and I made a mistake. But we've already spoken about it internally. Now it's up to me to do my job and help the team win."

Cueva admitted that he was tempted by an offer to join Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal amid his standoff with Sao Paulo officials last month.

But a frank discussion with coach Dorival Junior and other members of the Brazilian club's hierarchy convinced him to stay, he added.

"I have a contract with Sao Paulo," he said. "If there is an offer to go somewhere else, it's normal for a player to analyze it with his family. But I'm in the best form of my career here in Sao Paulo. I just want to play to help the team."