KUALA LUMPUR: Former Selangor and Sarawak midfielder Junior Aparecido became the latest Brazilian to join newly-promoted Super League side Kuala Lumpur for the new season.
Junior joins from Brazilian Serie B side Boa Esporte Clube to give KL a distinct samba flair under coach Fabio Maciel as he looks to combine the talent of KL's new signing with forwards Guilherme De Paula and Paolo Josue.
With former international Indra Putra Mahayuddin, winger Zaquan Adha Radzak and defender Firdaus Faudzi also swelling the city side's ranks, KL hope to take the Super League by storm on their return to the top-flight after a five-year absence.
"I know Junior well when he played for me in Timor Leste," said Brazilian Maciel, who was Timor Leste national coach before joining KL last season.
"I wanted to bring him in last season but could not get a release from his club. He is a good player and he is the type of midfielder I need in the team."
Maciel, who led KL to the 2017 Premier League title, initially wanted to bring in Everton Heleno of Brazilian Serie A side Atletico Goianiense but the move fell through due to a personal issue affecting the attacking midfielder.
Junior, 28, played for the Timor Leste national team in 2015 and 2016 until the Asian Football Confederation ruled that the Brazilian, along with eight of his compatriots, were ineligible to play for Timor Leste.
KL began their pre-season preparation on Monday with 19 players turning out for the first session at the Pudu Ulu training ground in Cheras, including newcomers Junior, Indra and Firdaus.
Zaquan’s signing from Perak, however, was only announced yesterday.
Indra was a surprise capture from Kelantan but how the 36-year-old forward fits into the KL team remains to be seen while Firdaus arrived from Terengganu to strengthen KL's backline.
"Indra has a lot of experience and if a player is good, I don't look at his age," said Maciel.
"He needs to show that he deserves a place, like all the other players here."
KL remain in talks with Uzbek defender Boburjon Akbarov, captain Helmi Remeli and winger Manaf Mamat to extend their contracts.