Ron­aldo VieiRa

World Soccer - - Special Feature -

For many, the dy­namic Eng­land un­der-21 mid­fielder, who moved from Leeds United to Serie A, was an ob­vi­ous can­di­date to hop on board the ex­pat ex­press.

On Leeds’ books since 2015, the 20-year-old has al­ready seen his fair share of the world, hav­ing been born in the west African state of Guinea Bis­sau, brought up in Por­tu­gal and then mov­ing with his fam­ily to the north of Eng­land in his early teens.

An El­land Road first-teamer in over 60 games, he is ath­letic and pow­er­ful, plays with drive and en­ergy, is a ball-win­ning ma­chine and likes to keep it neat and tidy in pos­ses­sion.

Con­tribut­ing twice to English tri­umphs at the Toulon fes­ti­val, in 2017 and 2018, he show­cased his shoot­ing power with a stun­ning long-range strike against Qatar at this sum­mer’s tour­na­ment.

While he still has a few rough edges to smooth out tech­ni­cally and tac­ti­cally, he is a will­ing scholar and should ben­e­fit enor­mously from a crash-course in Ital­ian-style strat­egy and dis­ci­pline.

“Sam­p­do­ria is the next phase in my life,” he says. “Serie A is my lat­est chal­lenge. The pres­i­dent here has put his faith in me. So has the coach. I’m here to learn and help the team.”

The fifth English player to line up for Samp – fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Trevor Fran­cis, David Platt, Des Walker and Lee Sharpe – both he and his twin brother Ro­mario were named af­ter Brazil­ian foot­ball leg­ends, with his de­fen­sive mid­fielder sib­ling un­der con­tract with Leeds un­til this sum­mer.

A for­mer pupil at the Ben­fica academy, Ron­aldo’s cur­rent foot­balling good for­tune stands in marked con­trast to his ini­tial strug­gles to make a name for him­self in the English game, hav­ing been re­jected as a young­ster by Manch­ester City, Hull City and Barns­ley.

Pow­er­ful...a driv­ing force in mid­field

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.