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VALENCIA - Valencia signed Brazilian teenage left-back Thiago Carleto for a five-year contract from Santos yesterday.
The Spanish club fended off interest from Italian teams Palermo and Fiorentina and Sporting Lisbon of Portugal to pick up the 19-year-old Carleto, who has been compared to former Brazil left-back Roberto Carlos due to a similar powerful left-footed shot.
"I never thought twice about joining Valencia after they called. There was never any doubt," Carleto told the Associated Press.
Spanish reports said the transfer cost about ß2 million euros (R25,7million). That figure could not be confirmed.
Carleto will begin training with Valencia immediately but won't be available to play until January.
Carleto, who played only 11 games for Santos, believes a move to Europe was necessary to improve his skills and make Brazil's squad for next year's Under-20 World Cup in Egypt.
"I have all the qualities and I want to improve, and I think this, for me, was the big move I needed," Carleto said.
Valencia are fourth in the Spanish league under new coach Unai Emery, four points behind leaders Barcelona. Last season, the team won the Copa del Rey trophy but was divided due to the arrival of coach Ronald Koeman.
"I kind of know what happened last season but I'm not worried," Carleto said. - Sapa-AP