Ricardo Nascimento happy with PSL gong

The PSL's Defender of the Season Ricardo Nascimento of champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
The PSL's Defender of the Season Ricardo Nascimento of champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

Despite having given the PSL awards a miss, Ricardo Nascimento expressed joy after clinching the Defender of the Season Award.

The Mamelodi Sundowns defender was voted the best back-line player in the recently concluded 2018/19 season.

It was the first time the reliable centre-back won a gong since his arrival in the country in 2016.

He was not there to accept his award as his teammate Tiyani Mabunda accepted it on his behalf in Durban at the weekend.

"Unfortunately I was not able to go to the awards, but I was very excited when I discovered that I won the best defender award," Nascimento said speaking with Sowetan from his hometown Ilheus in Brazil.

"It feels good to be recognised after such a long and difficult season. I wish I was there, but I had to return to Brazil to be with my family before returning for next season in a few weeks' time."

While the 32-year-old was born in the coastal town of Ilheus, Nascimento's family is now living in Sao Paulo.

The former Atletico Monte Azul player is planning to relax until they are expected to report back in camp sometime in July.

"I will just spend time with my wife and son, and extended family. Remember, due to our busy schedule in the past seasons, we did not have an off-season at Sundowns."

He arrived at the Tshwane club in 2016.

"So this is the first time since I arrived at Sundowns where we have a proper off-season because the CAF Champions League programme has changed."

The irony that Nascimento plays for a club dubbed the Brazilians is not lost upon his countrymen.

Although he has never played for the famous Selecao (the Brazil national team), the poised lefty said he enjoys playing for the Brazilians from Chloorkop.

"People ask me many questions about Sundowns because the colours are the same as the Selecao," he said.

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