With a name like Ronaldo Vieira you kind of have to make an impression. 21-year-old Guinea Bissau born Vieira did just that during his time at Leeds United so it was a surprise to many when the Elland Road club let him leave Yorkshire and join Serie A side Sampdoria. Well, if they were good enough for David Platt and Danny Dichio… and Lee Sharpe… and Des Walker, then they must be for Vieira! But could the youngster be on his way back to England?
As a child Vieira moved with his family from Africa to Portugal where he would join the ranks at Benfica. Before breaking into the first team (He was only seventeen to be fair!), he set sail again and would spend three years at Leeds United. The tenacious but composed midfielder racked up 63 league appearances for The Whites but with the Elland Road outfit desperate for cash they accepted a bid from Genoa based Sampdoria. The fee is believed to have been around £7million.
After a slow start to life in Italy Vieira has progressed in his second season. To date he’s appeared 21 times in the league this campaign with only four of those coming from the bench. He has however clocked up a whopping eight yellow cards in those appearances! Vieira has made 34 league appearances in total during his time in Italy and will hope to add to that tally should the season resume. Sampdoria are by no means safe from relegation should the season start again and in January there was interest from Premier League sides. Burnley were mentioned but it was West Ham United who displayed the firmest interest. The Hammers offered in the region of £12million but Sampdoria insisted on holding out for £17million. Will they still hold out for such a larger return on investment post Coronavirus Lockdown?
Eligible to represent Guinea Bissau, Portugal and England, Vieira is capped at under-20 and under-21 level for England and has made no secret of his desire not only to play for his adopted country at full international level… but to win the World Cup! “The desire to win the World Cup is always there” stated Vieira in an interview. Well, with a name like his you’ve got to aim high but is the sky the limit or is it just the top of the nearest tree!
Ronaldo’s twin brother Romario remains on the books of Leeds United but is yet to make a first team outing. That hasn’t stopped him being capped by Guinea Bissau mind. Whether or not there’s another brother called Bebeto hiding somewhere remains unknown!
Where will Ronaldo Vieira be in a year or two? Floundering at the foot of Serie A or worse, anonymously ploughing away in Serie B? Back in England tearing it up in the Premier League and breaking into the England ranks? On loan in the Championship or the Scottish Premier League, or to be found making fleeting appearances for Qararbag, APOEL or Midtjylland?
Left Back Footy will let you know in due course. Hopefully we’ll have something to celebrate for a player who remains well liked by Leeds United fans. Could he rejoin them in the Premier League?!