Juventus trickster Douglas Costa has revealed how his Grêmio side of 2009 lost a game against Flamengo on purpose just to prevent their bitter rivals, Internacional, from being crowned as the Brasileirão champions.
The Brazil international admitted that he "had to play to avoid winning" in their league match against Flamengo and despite taking a surprise lead in the game with their weakened side, Grêmio would eventually lose 2-1.
In a YouTube interview with the channel Pilhado, Costa revealed how Grêmio were told about Internacional potentially winning the championship, if they didn't lose.
"In the second half, the news came that the Internacional would be the Brasileirão champion with that result," Costa said, as quoted by Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I was dribbling on one side, [then] on the other, but still far from the goal. It was a difficult game to play, I could not give it all myself and it was bad, but I had to play to avoid winning."
The former Bayern Munich and Shakhtar Donetsk winger asserted that the Grêmio hierarchy did not instruct the squad about their decision to lose the game. However, Costa did admit that the squad were warned about what could happen if they handed Internacional the title.
"They told us that we could do what we wanted, that the responsibility was ours," Costa continued.
"What if we won? We could not leave the track at the airport and we would not have been able to leave because the Grêmio fans wanted to kill us, it would have been a stain for the history of the Grêmio, give the title to the Internacional, and if we had beaten Flamengo, we would have died."