A crucial piece in the Newcastle Jets’ Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Season squad jigsaw has today been put in place, with former Feyenoord Rotterdam, Ajax Amsterdam and NAC Breda attacking midfielder Leonardo Vitor Santiago agreeing to join the Club.Leonardo, as he is most commonly known, is a Brazilian number 10 who is also capable of being deployed in wide attacking roles.
Having made his senior debut at just 17, Leonardo – now 32 – spent an impressive 13 seasons contracted to premier clubs in the Dutch Eredivisie before linking with Austrian heavyweights Red Bull Salzburg in 2011.
Stints in the Hungarian top flight with Ferencváros and the German second division with 1860 Munich concluded Leonardo’s spell in Europe – for the time being at least – with the 2002 UEFA Cup champion set to call the Hunter Valley home until at minimum May 2016.
Newcastle Jets Head Coach Scott Miller said that he believes Leonardo will prove to be a valuable addition to the Club for a host of reasons.
“We are excited to have a player of Leonardo’s experience and class joining our Club,” Miller said of the former KNVB (Dutch) Cup and Austrian Bundesliga winner.
“Leonardo is a player that we believe will add craft and spark to our team, inspire and entertain our Members, and provide leadership through his actions.
“We are also anticipating that as well as contributing strongly on the pitch and in the Newcastle and Northern New South Wales community, Leonardo will be able to impart his years of experience acquired through competing at some of the top levels of the game to our many young and ambitious attacking players – players like Mitch Cooper, Josh Barresi, and Radovan Pavicevic,” he said.
Leonardo, who is due to arrive in Australia in mid-September, said with the assistance of an interpreter from his home in Holland that he is eager to commence the next chapter and challenge of his career with Newcastle in the Hyundai A-League.
“I have spent many years now playing in Europe, so it is exciting for me to travel to the other side of the globe to play professional football,” Leonardo said.
“The A-League is a competition that I have heard good things about, and from what I have seen on the internet Newcastle looks like a great place to live.
“The start of the A-League season is not too far away, so I look forward to getting to Australia as soon as possible to meet everyone at the Club, our fans, and to get to work,” he said.
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