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Monday, 26 January 2009 18:02

Pele jumps at Portsmouth loan opportunity

Portugal U21 midfielder released by FC Porto

PeleFC Porto have officially announced the loan of Portugal U21 midfielder Pele to Premiership team Portsmouth until the end of the season. The south-coast club have an option to purchase the player outright for 6.5m euros at the end of the loan period.

Combative midfielder Pele started at Guimaraes before making a dream move to Inter Milan in the summer of 2007 and impressing in his first year in Italy.

However, the arrival of Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho ironically signalled the end of his spell at the Italian giants. Pele was transferred back to Portugal, signing for champions FC Porto after just one season in Serie A, as part of the deal that saw Ricardo Quaresma move in the opposite direction.

But Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira has used Pele sparingly, and the midfielder has jumped at the chance to reignite a career that was in danger of stagnating.

England ambition

“I only heard about Portsmouth’s interest a few days ago, but I wanted to come straight away. It’s always been an ambition of mine to play in England in the Premiership,” the 21-year-old told the club’s official website.

“The crowds are always great here. England is the home of football, so it’s fantastic to get this opportunity.

“The Portsmouth fans can expect to see a lot of work and dedication – and hopefully some goals. I’m confident I can impress them. I want to win the support of the fans and achieve all that I possibly can with Portsmouth.”

The transfer sees Portsmouth maintain what has become something of a tradition in recent times at the club regarding Portuguese midfielders. Pedro Mendes and Manuel Fernandes both enjoyed a level of success at Pompey under the stewardship of former manager Harry Redknapp.

by Tom Kundert

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