Moscow: Former Brazilian fullback Roberto Carlos has followed fellow footballing great Ruud Gullit in accepting a lucrative deal to ply his trade in the troubled Caucasus region of Russia - which has left many scratching their heads in wonderment.
Wonderment at the reported five million euros a season the 37-year-old will be paid by powerful oil and metals magnate Suleiman Kerimov, the ambitious owner of mediocre Russian Premier League outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.
There is also bemusement that Roberto Carlos - a World Cup winner in 2002 and finalist in 1998 - should decide in the dying days of his career to risk his life by settling in Dagestan, which is the scene of daily explosions, abductions and other forms of ethnic and gang-related violence.
Gullit for his part has agreed to coach another mediocre but ambitious Premier League club Terek Grozny and earn a reported two million dollars on his 18-month contract - the two-time world player of the year has also said he will only come to Grozny for matches.
He will spend the rest of the time at a team training base about 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of the Chechen capital.
Some commentators are also wary of the Russian elite division becoming a well-paid refuge for players, whose best days are behind them and are looking for one last big payday.
"The club is off to a good start because Roberto Carlos's arrival will attract attention to Makhachkala and the team," said former Russian international defender Yevgeny Bushmanov.
"But they should continue moving in that direction because as a left full-back, Carlos can not single-handedly change the team's playing style.
"Otherwise, our league will turn into a place where the former stars come only to boost their personal fortunes before retiring."
Kerimov, who is also a Russian senator, has signalled his intent of raising Anzhi's profile and improving its fortunes and has reportedly offered Carlos's former club Corinthians 11million euros for Brazilian international midfielder Jucilei da Silva.
Anzhi manager Gadzhi Gadzhiev said the club's new owner had all along sought to boost the club's confidence with a headline-grabbing signing that would give impetus to the game's development in impoverished Dagestan.
"We were looking for a famous player who could raise both the popularity of football in our republic and the club's image," Gadzhiev said.
"World champion Roberto Carlos, a three-time Champions League winner, is one of the best possible candidates for this role."
Gadziev has refused to say how much Anzhi's new owner has invested in the club, saying only that Kerimov was set to construct a completely new football stadium in Makhachkala, the republic's capital.
"The club's budget will definitely increase because Kerimov has expressed a clear intention to buy world-class footballers for Anzhi," said Gadziev.
Gadziev, though, warned the club's fans not to expect immediate signs of success with a side that finished sixth from bottom last season, 35 points adrift of champions Zenit St Petersburg.
"Our level of financing and organization is not the same as that of the top clubs," Gadzhiev said.
"Besides, all these clubs have traditions that Anzhi still does not. But if we do manage to fulfil Kerimov's ambitions, we will be able to compete with any club after two or three years."