Monday October 15 2018
Vieira: ‘Sampdoria wanted me for years’

Ronaldo Vieira reveals Sampdoria “had their eyes on me for a long time” before signing him from Leeds United.

The England Under-21 international joined the port city side this summer, but the transfer had been planned out long before.

“We played Atalanta two years before, I think?” Vieira told Football Italia’s Richard Hall.

“I had had a good first season at Leeds, but the second didn’t go so well. But when I spoke to the [sporting] director he told me they’d had their eyes on me for a long time now.

“It came about almost too quickly for me, I just decided what was best for Leeds as a club and what was best for me, and decided to take the jump.

“Any new experience is recommended but it depends on what you want to do. It depends on whether you’re willing to take that other step to being a successful footballer. Its not just about staying at home and being close to your family, you also have to take chances.

“It might not work out for me but it’s obviously worked out for [Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon] Sancho. I hope it does work out for me, it’s a chance you have to take in life and I am enjoying my time.”

Vieira faced Italy’s Under-20s last week, with the Three Lions emerging as 2-1 winners in a friendly.

“They have some good footballers in there. They have players who wanted to play. We’d worked on that though. We knew they were going to try and play so we stopped that and tried to make them go long.

“I thought we did well, in the first half we were all over them but I the second half, as expected they came back. They scored and then had a few chances but we stuck together, we stood up to them well and dug deep to get the result.”

Vieira was born in Guinnea-Bissau and also holds Portuguese nationality, not to mention being named after a Brazilian superstar.

“My Mum liked football, my Dad liked football, so why not call your kids Ronaldo and Romario [his brother’s name]?

“Me and my brother always wanted to be footballers. We just stuck to the dream and Mum and Dad went through a lot to get us where we are right now.

“We started in the Benfica ranks together which was good but then we moved to England and that was like starting all over again.

“We tried at Man City, which didn’t go too well for us, even tried at Barnsley, and Hull. They didn’t go for it so we joined a coach who we had known from before and he helped us get us a trial at Leeds. Later on, my brother joined me as well.

“My brother joined a year later, when I got into the first team, he joined the Under-23s and played there for two years.”