Brandao finding his feet in Italy PDF Print E-mail

Young defender earns starting berth for Serie A side Siena

Goncalo BrandaoAfter a frustrating start to life in Serie A, Portuguese defender Goncalo Brandao is finally starting to make an impact with his new club Siena.

The 22-year-old central defender moved to Italy last summer from Belenenses, signing a five-year deal at the Artemio Franchi. However, injury problems meant that Brandao had to wait until December for his first league appearance in the white and black colours.

The young stopper could not have wished for a tougher debut. Brandao was thrown straight into the starting line-up as Siena hosted champions Inter before the winter break. Despite his team losing 2-1 on the day, Brandao performed well for his new side, even earning direct praise from opposition manager Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho congratulations

“We spoke in the tunnel, at half time. He wanted to know how things were going for me and at the end he congratulated me for my game,” recalls Brandao. “Jose Mourinho is Jose Mourinho, everyone knows him and it is always good to be praised by a manager of his class, one of the best coaches in the world.”

However, the result meant that overall the match does not represent a happy memory for Brandao. “I had intended to ask Quaresma or Figo for their shirt, but I left the pitch extremely frustrated because Siena lost. When I came out from the dressing room I could not see them, so I exchanged shirts with Maxwell, who was still around at that time.”

Since his first appearance, Brandao has gone on to play in three consecutive matches in the league, with Siena going down 1-0 at Juventus in their next game before the Portuguese earned his first win this past weekend with a 1-0 victory over Reggina at home.

Direct rival

“The Reggina game was more difficult than the other two,” he says. “Because it was against a direct rival and against teams like Juve and Inter it’s natural that we play with more concentration. In these apparently easier matches, at times, you can have lapses.”

The three points, which ended a four-match losing streak in the league, moved Brandao’s men up to 14th place in Serie A. Next up is a home clash with Atalanta, with Siena welcoming Costinha’s club to Tuscany on Sunday afternoon.

21 January 2009, by Sean Gillen

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