|Full name||Elkeson de Oliveira Cardoso|
|Date of birth||13 July 1989|
|Place of birth||Coelho Neto, Maranhão, Brazil|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Position(s)||Attacking midfielder, forward|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12 November 2020|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12 October 2021
Elkeson de Oliveira Cardoso (born 13 July 1989), known as Elkeson or Ai Kesen (Chinese: 艾克森; pinyin: Ài Kèsēn), is a Brazilian-born Chinese professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or as a forward for Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande and the China national team.
Born in Brazil, Elkeson obtained Chinese citizenship in 2019 through naturalization and represents China internationally. Starting out at Vitória, he played mostly as an attacking midfielder and as a winger, but since his final days at Botafogo, he was moved to attack and has played as a striker.
Elkeson first played for Vitória's youth academy before signing with the first team in 2009. During the 2010 season, Elkeson proved himself a breakout success and soon earned himself a move to Botafogo in May 2011.
On 24 December 2012, Guangzhou Evergrande officially announced that they had signed Elkeson on a four-year deal for a fee of €5.7 million. He was not initially included in Guangzhou's 30-player squad for the 2013 AFC Champions League due to the limit on foreign players. On 3 March 2013, he made his debut for Guangzhou in the 2013 Chinese FA Super Cup which Guangzhou Evergrande lost to Jiangsu Sainty 2–1. On 8 March 2013, Elkeson scored his first two goals in China in the opening match of 2013 Chinese Super League against Shanghai Shenxin, which ensured Guangzhou Evergrande's 5–1 victory. He scored thirteen goals in his first seven matches in the league. In July 2013, Elkeson was named in the squad which was submitted for the next stage of the AFC Champions League, replacing Lucas Barrios who had decided to return to Europe.
He scored twenty-four goals in twenty-eight appearances in the Super League which made him the top goalscorer of the season, eight more than the second-placed Carmelo Valencia. He scored six goals in six matches in the AFC Champions League, including two goals in the both legs of 2013 AFC Champions League Final against FC Seoul as Guangzhou was crowned champion of the competition for the first time. The win in the final was the first time a Chinese club had won the trophy in 23 years.
On 1 December 2013 in the first leg of 2013 Chinese FA Cup final against Guizhou Renhe, he was sent off after striking Yang Hao in the face with his hand. On 5 December, he received a ban of 4 matches and was fined ¥20,000 by Chinese Football Association discipline committee.
Guangzhou Evergrande finally lost to Guizhou Renhe 3–2 on aggregate, failing to defend the FA Cup title. Elkeson played all three matches for Guangzhou Evergrande in the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup. On 14 December 2013, he scored Guangzhou's first goal in the FIFA Club World Cup against African champions Al Ahly in the quarter-finals, helping Guangzhou win the match 2–0.
In March 2015, after a match against Changchun Yatai he was heavily criticised for annulling teammate's Gao Lin's certain bicycle kick goal by attempting to poach the goal for himself by just brushing the ball on the line with his head, which meant ultimately that the goal was (correctly) ruled offside and the team only drew the match 1–1.
On 4 April 2018, Elkeson scored his side's only goal in their 1–1 draw with Kawasaki Frontale in the group stage of the AFC Champions League. The goal was Elkeson's 27th in the competition proper, moving him to fourth all time in the top scoring charts.
On 18 September 2018, Elkeson scored the winning goal for Shanghai SIPG, as the club recorded its first ever win in the Super League against his former club Guangzhou Evergrande. The win cemented SIPG's position in first place at the top of the league table. On 7 October, Elkeson scored again as SIPG recorded a 5–0 win over bottom-of-the-table Guizhou Hengfeng to extend their lead over his former club at the top of the table to 4 points with just over a month of the season left. On 7 November, Elkeson played part in Shanghai's 2–0 win over Beijing Renhe in the penultimate round of fixtures. The win secured Shanghai SIPG's first Chinese Super League title and ended Guangzhou Evergrande's seven year title reign.
Return to Guangzhou Evergrande
On 9 July 2019, Elkeson returned to his former club Guangzhou Evergrande. Elkeson reportedly agreed a €10 million (US$11.2 million) annual salary to return, up from €6 million in Shanghai. At the time of his transfer, the two clubs were level on points, and were two points behind leaders Beijing Guoan. Elkeson marked his return to Guangzhou with goals in his first two games, and a hat-trick against local rivals Guangzhou R&F in his third match on 20 July.
In September 2011, Elkeson received his first call up for Brazil national football team by Mano Menezes for the second leg of 2011 Superclásico de las Américas against Argentina. However, he didn't play for Brazil in the match.
Elkeson was called up to the Chinese national team in August 2019, following gaining Chinese citizenship via naturalisation. Elkeson subsequently became the first player to be called up for China without any Chinese ancestry.
Following his naturalisation as a Chinese citizen, his name is rendered as Ai Kesen in Chinese (Chinese: 艾克森; pinyin: Ài Kèsēn). Prior to that, he used the Chinese transliterated name Ai Er'kesen (Chinese: 埃尔克森); in Cantonese speaking areas such as Guangzhou and Hong Kong, he was known as Ngai Git-san (Chinese: 艾傑臣).
- As of match played 1 December 2020
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||State League||Continental||Other||Total|
|Guangzhou Evergrande||2013||Chinese Super League||28||24||3||1||–||6[c]||6||4[d]||1||41||32|
|2014||Chinese Super League||28||28||1||0||–||10[c]||6||–||39||34|
|2015||Chinese Super League||16||7||–||–||11[c]||3||4[e]||0||31||10|
|Shanghai SIPG||2016||Chinese Super League||26||11||1||0||–||9[c]||4||0||0||36||15|
|2017||Chinese Super League||17||11||1||2||–||12[c]||5||0||0||30||18|
|2018||Chinese Super League||16||7||2||0||–||8[c]||4||0||0||26||11|
|2019||Chinese Super League||15||8||1||0||–||8[c]||2||1[f]||0||25||10|
|Guangzhou Evergrande||2019||Chinese Super League||13||10||0||0||–||4[c]||0||0||0||17||10|
|2020||Chinese Super League||19||6||0||0||–||4[c]||1||–||23||7|
- Appearances in Copa Sudamericana
- Appearances in Copa do Nordeste
- Appearances in AFC Champions League
- One appearance in Chinese FA Super Cup, three appearances and one goal in FIFA Club World Cup
- One appearance in Chinese FA Super Cup, three appearances in FIFA Club World Cup
- Appearance in Chinese FA Super Cup
As of 30 May 2021. China score listed first, score column shows score after each Elkeson goal.
|1||10 September 2019||National Football Stadium, Malé, Maldives||1||Maldives||4–0||5–0||2022 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|3||10 October 2019||Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China||2||Guam||7–0||7–0|
|4||30 May 2021||Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China||5||5–0|
- AFC Champions League Dream Team: 2013, 2014
- Chinese Football Association Footballer of the Year: 2014
- Chinese Super League Golden Boot: 2013, 2014
- Chinese Super League Team of the Year: 2013, 2014
- "Landmark move sees Elkeson named in China PR squad". The AFC. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- China champs Guangzhou sign Elkeson
- 埃尔克森（ELKESON）正式加盟广州恒大 (in Chinese)
- Former Botafogo star Elkeson happy with life in China
- 恒大火速为郑龙补报亚冠资格 埃尔克森替巴里奥斯
- Elkeson sets sights on Club World Cup
- "Chinese champions Guangzhou sell top scorer to rivals 'for national glory'". The Guardian. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- 埃神又昏了头！愤怒报复染红下场 不是第一次了
- "埃尔克森被追加停赛". Archived from the original on 26 December 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- Guangzhou Evergrande FC 2–0 Al Ahly SC
- "Video: How to ruin a team-mate's goal!". 24 March 2015.
- "Time de Conca na China anuncia a contratação do brasileiro Elkeson". Globo Esporte (in Portuguese). Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "Shanghai SIPG FC (CHN) 1–1 Kawasaki Frontale (JPN)". AFC. 4 April 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- "Five all-time leading goalscorers in AFC Champions League". Fox Sports. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- "Chinese Super League title race takes another twist as Wu Lei and Elkeson help Shanghai SIPG hold on to beat Guangzhou Evergrande". South China Morning Post. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- "Wu's double keeps SIPG clear at summit". Nasdaq. 7 October 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- "Shanghai SIPG 2–1 Beijing Renhe". ESPN. 7 November 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- "Shanghai SIPG win Chinese Super League to end Guangzhou Evergrande dominance". ESPNFC. 7 November 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- "Elkeson joining Guangzhou Evergrande from Shanghai SIPG ahead of naturalisation to play for China". SCMP. 4 July 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- "Guangzhou R&F F.C. 0 : 5 Guangzhou Evergrande". Who Scored. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- Os convocados para o Superclássico Archived 24 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine cbf.com.br (in Portuguese)
- "Brazil-born Elkeson included in China squad in landmark move". CNA. 18 August 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
- "国足公布26人集训名单:归化球员艾克森和李可入选". news.sina.com.cn (in Chinese). 中国新闻网. 30 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- "Elkeson". Soccerway. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- "新王诞生!上港队史首夺超级杯 历史第9支冠军队伍". Sina Sports (in Chinese). 23 February 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
- "AFC Champions League 2013 Dream Team". AFC Champions League (Official) Facebook Page. 15 November 2013.
- John Greco (11 November 2014). "Four Wanderers in ACL Dream Team". Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Player of the year » China". World Football. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
- "Team of the Year 2014". sports.sohu.com. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
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