No Gan, but Leandro’s still firing

Brendan Gan

PETALING JAYA: As Perak marched to the Malaysia Cup title last year and the FA Cup final this year, it was always a delight to watch their mastery in the middle of the park, with Leandro Dos Santos’ rampaging displays and Brendan Gan’s deft touches.

The two were instrumental in all of Perak’s success in the last two years.

Next season though, the 33-year-old fondly known as ‘Leo’ or ‘Bull’ to his teammates, will have a different partner in crime.

The departure of Brendan to Selangor has left a void in Perak’s midfield, but the Brazilian said they just have to move on and believe in other players in the squad.

The departure of Norhakim Hassan, also to Selangor, is another loss felt by most of the players in Ipoh.

“They are great players, professionals and very committed, but in football, players come and go,” said Leandro, who made his Super League debut in 2014 with now-defunct T-Team.“I wish both Brendan and Norhakim the best. We are friends, but when they face us, I will see them as rivals.

Leandro Dos Santos.Leandro Dos Santos.

“Pre-season preparation has been going well, and we have an excellent fitness trainer in Sam (Pakiaraj), who is making sure that we are in tip-top condition.”

The possibility of playing with a new midfield partner does not faze the former Selangor midfielder, as he is only looking to do his best for the club next season.

Whether it is D. Kenny Pallraj or Firdaus Saiyadi, Leandro is ready to do his best to guide and play alongside them.

“I have played with Kenny before, while Fie (Firdaus) is young and hungry. Both players have excellent quality.

“For me, if you work hard and stay focused during training, you will get picked. Whenever the coach selects you, be at your best.”

Leandro may not be liked by his opponents as he has earned a notorious reputation for his robust style of play and ability to provoke players with his words and theatrics.

But to his teammates, he is a leader and always livens up the atmosphere with his jokes and motivational talks.

“The victories and achievements we had in the past are the results of hard work and dedication.

“We are getting ready, we are very focused and excited for the 2020 season.

“Malaysia’s league has many good teams that have made significant investments, but here in Perak, we believe in continuity and the talents we have in the state.

“Most of us in the team have played together for quite a while, so there is no question of chemistry. For me, I am confident that the team will have a great year.”

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