Former Portugal winger Simao Sabrosa joins Indian Super League
Former Portugal and Barcelona winger Simao Sabrosa has been named as marquee player of NorthEast United FC for the second season of the Indian Super League (ISL) which begins in October.
2004 UEFA Euro finalist Sabrosa -- a teammate of Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo -- will don the No. 20 jersey.
"I'm looking forward to the new challenge. The ISL has brought football in India to everybody's attention and I cannot wait to participate in it," Sabrosa was quoted in The Times of India.
"I'm training hard every single day to be fitter and stronger before the season starts. I am going to India and NorthEast United FC to win."
Rickie Herbert's Guwahati-based side failed to reach the knockout stages of the ISL last season but won fans by playing exciting football with a team that cost the least.
35-year-old Sabrosa said he has spoken to former Spanish international defender Joan Capdevila, the club's marquee player in the first edition of the tournament last year. Capdevila and Sabrosa were released by La Liga side Espanyol in 2014.
"Sabrosa has played at the biggest stage in some of the world's most premier football competitions -- World Cup, Euro and Champions League. He's a winner and I'm positive that he will pass his winning mentality on to the rest of the team," said Capdevilla.
Sabrosa began his career at the Sporting Club de Portugal, renowned for nurturing Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Nani.
Although Sabrosa was in the Barcelona ranks between 1999 and 2001, it was his exploits for Sporting's rivals, Benfica, between 2001 and 2007 that catapulted him to star status. He scored 15 goals as his club won the Portuguese league in 2004-05 ending a 11-year title drought.
This made him a Liverpool target in the 2005 summer transfer window but Benfica refused the Premier League club's offer of £12 million.
In the 2005-06 Champions League, Sabrosa masterminded Benfica's progress to the quarterfinals, knocking out Liverpool in the Round of 16 stage.
The Portuguese star signed for Atletico Madrid in 2007 and scored the 4000th goal of the club's 100-year history in 2009 in a La Liga game against Deportivo La Coruna.
Sabrosa had a brief stint with Turkish side Besiktas before moving to Espanyol in 2012.