Porto legend in PSL link

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Benni McCarthy wants to be the first SA player to win both the Euro and African champions league titles. Photos: Gallo Images
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Benni McCarthy wants to be the first SA player to win both the Euro and African champions league titles. Photos: Gallo Images

BAFANA Bafana's all-time top scorer, Benni McCarthy, is the unofficial global ambassador of the Premier Soccer League.

Following the acquisition of McCarthy by Orlando Pirates at the beginning of the season, more veteran soccer players from Europe want to follow in his footsteps by joining PSL clubs.

The latest player keen to play in the PSL is former Portuguese international striker Nuno Ricardo de Oliveira Ribeiro, popularly known as Maniche.

Central midfielder Maniche has played for various top clubs including Benfica, Porto, Dynamo Moscow, Chelsea, Atlético Madrid and Internazionale.

In 2004, Maniche, who is now 34, was a teammate of McCarthy's who helped FC Porto win the Uefa Champions League, grabbing a total of eight trophies with the club.

Maniche won more than 50 caps for Portugal, representing the nation in one World Cup and one European Championship.

"We had a chat with Nuno, he is very much keen to come and further his soccer career in South Africa," said McCarthy, who has scored 31 goals for Bafana Bafana.

"I played with him at FC Porto, he is such a wonderful player. He wanted to know what is it like to play soccer in the PSL. I told him it's incredible.

"He is not the only one, there are many others who want to come here in the new season. I can only advise, but I feel proud to hear household names want to play in the PSL.

"In the past, we used to see most of the top players, like Thierry Henry, David Beckham and many others going to America after quitting the big leagues in Europe.

"Some of them are going to the Middle East. Their presence in South Africa will help improve our game and also the profile.

"The youngsters in the PSL will learn from them," said McCarthy, who has already influenced another Portuguese player, Luis Boa Morte, to join Pirates.

"The PSL has a great future."

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