Indian Super League (ISL) side Hyderabad FC today announced the signing of former RCD Mallorca man Joao Victor. He is the franchise's first foreign signing for the upcoming season.
Joao Victor has played against both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Joao Victor began his professional career in 2005 after graduating from the Clube Nautico Capibaribe Academy in Brazil to their senior team. The defensive midfielder then had a single-season stint with fourth-division side Associacao Desportiva Sao Caetano in 2007-08.
After his stint in Sao Paulo, Joao Victor moved to another Brazilian lower division side, Treze, where he played another season. The 31-year-old finally switched continents to join Uzbekistan Super League side FC Bunyodkor for the 2009-10 season. His five-year stint here got him the recognition from many of Europe's lower division sides.
Joao Victor enjoyed the most significant break of his career when he joined La Liga side RCD Mallorca in 2010. After two successful seasons in Spain, he was sidelined for more than a season due to a cruciate ligament rupture on his right knee. He did extend his contract, however, staying with the club till 2015 in La Liga 2.
The Olinda-born player played six times each against FC Barcelona and Real Madrid over his first three seasons at the Visit Mallorca Stadium. His man-marking and composure against the likes of Messi and Ronaldo were what helped him earn contract extensions, despite the long-term injuries.
On his signing for Hyderabad, Joao Victor said to the club's media team:
"I am very happy to have signed for Hyderabad FC. It’s an exciting project and a good challenge for me, given the composition of the team. We have a nice mix of experienced and young Indian players in the squad, and I hope that my experience helps the team on the field. I am eager to join up with my teammates soon and get back to action."
The Brazilian also played for Anorthosis (Cyrpus), Umm Salal (Qatar) and OFI Crete (Greece) before joining Hyderabad FC.
Hyderabad co-owner Varun Tripuraneni said:
"João Victor has played at the very highest level, and we’re excited to have him on board. His experience in top leagues in three different continents makes him one of the crucial players in our side. Moreover, he is a player who can operate in both midfield and defence, and this versatility will undoubtedly help us. We hope the young players in our squad can get a rub of the wealth of experience he brings in."
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Joao Victor will compliment the likes of Joel Chianese and Halicharan Narzary on the flanks, with his supporting role ahead of the defence. With Albert Roca at the helm, he is expected to show the form that he displayed during his time at Mallorca.