Henrique hopes to form good partnership with Sailors’ defence line

SINGAPORE: The Lion City Sailors have moved to strengthen their squad with the acquisition of Pedro Henrique (pic) ahead of the 2022 season that will see the club make their debut in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL).

The 1.90m defender joins from Vitoria Guimaraes for an undisclosed fee and will join the club on a three-year contract.

Henrique, 29, joins fellow Brazilian Diego Lopes at the Sailors, and will look to form a defensive partnership with Singapore internationals like Amirul Adli, Tajeli Salamat and Hariss Harun.

Henrique was a target for Portuguese giants FC Porto in the summer of 2017, a year that saw Vitoria finish fourth in the Portuguese top tier, and runners-up in the Portuguese Cup, behind Benfica.

Then aged 23, Henrique enjoyed a breakthrough year that also saw him win the league’s fairplay award, after finishing the season with just one yellow card in 33 matches.

He brings aerial prowess to the Sailors backline, along with positional sense and a composure that complements his ability to distribute the ball from the back, and will look to add more steel to a defence that conceded only 21 goals in the 2021 Singapore Premier League (SPL) season.

The Sailors’ tight defence was a key facet of a season that saw the club win their first league title, with only second-placed Albirex Niigata (19) conceding fewer goals all season.

“I wish I could’ve been part of the team when the club won the league last year, but I’m excited about everything else that the club are doing off the field as well – the Sailors project is very ambitious, and I’m delighted to be able to play a part in making that vision a reality,” said Henrique, who has tasted Asian football with Saudi Arabian side Al-Wehda in 2021.

“I’m looking forward to working with Diego, and club head coach, Kim Do-hoon who won the ACL as recently as 2020. With so many of the squad having international experience with the Singapore team, I’m confident we will grow to be a team to be reckoned with.”

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