JOHOR BARU, Dec 29 — AFC 2015 champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) today confirmed signing Brazilian striker Paulo Rangel as their fourth import player for the 2016 season.
The Southern Tigers tied the 31-year-old former Terengganu player for two years to join other JDT import players Hariss Harun, Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Marcos Antonio.
Football Association of Johor (PBNJ) patron Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said the presence of the 2014 Super League top scorer would give the JDT frontline more bite together with Diaz.
“Everybody who knows football, knows he is a good player. He has been here for three years and has not stopped scoring wherever he goes,” said the Tunku Mahkota of Johor in an introduction session with Rangel here this evening.
Tunku Ismail said Rangel had turned out for Perak, Selangor and Terengganu and he is well versed with local football.
The Tunku Mahkota said the successful signing of Rangel saved the club RM17 million as the player was signed for free after becoming a free agent since October.
At the same time, PBNJ also focused on local players as 90 per cent of their players were locals who were equally capable of performing.
“What is important is for us to pay attention to local players as we are unlike other clubs which gave priority only to import players,” he said.
Rangel said he was lucky to join the best team in Malaysia and Asia, and was prepared to give his full commitment and best performance in every coming match.
“I promise Tunku Ismail, my coach and my fans that I will give my best in training and in every game,” he said while expressing his interest to wear jersey No 9.
Rangel, who will be replacing Luciano Figueroa, who retired from football, was the winner of the Golden Boot with 16 goals in the 2014 season while playing for Selangor.
Several other clubs also splurged big money for the 2016 season.
“This is all marketing, we began first, they are now starting to pick up, it is the same process and I like it as football in the country is becoming more competitive,” said Tunku Ismail.
He said the grassroot programme was also important to attract sponsors in the effort to strengthen the squad and maintain the name of JDT abroad.
The Tunku Mahkota said PBNJ and the team could boost its standing by building relations with the top clubs in the world. He would be having meetings with the management of clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in February. — Bernama