Leeds United: Ronaldo joins Whites...but this one’s only just getting started

Ronaldo Vieira Nan pens a scholarship deal at Leeds United
Ronaldo Vieira Nan pens a scholarship deal at Leeds United

Leeds United caught the imagination this week when they completed the signing of talented youngster Ronaldo Vieira Nan on a scholarship deal.

The 17-year-old, who shares his name with Brazilian ace Ronaldo and Patrick Vieira, is a product of the i2i Football Academy in York where he spent three years learning his trade under coaches Simon Collins and Mike Morton.

Ronaldo is said to be a versatile midfielder who reads the game very well, and has signed a two-year scholarship after impressing during a trial at Elland Road.

He has already featured in the under-18 and under-21 sides and also got a taste of first-team action during pre-season, coming on as a substitute in the 3-0 victory over Tadcaster Albion.

Ronaldo first started playing in his native Portugal and will be looking to make an impact under the guidance of Paul Hart, who returned to his former role of academy director with the Whites last week.

The youngster is in good hands as during Hart’s first spell at the club, he oversaw the development and integration of players like Harry Kewell, Alan Smith, Ian Harte, Gary Kelly and Paul Robinson into the first team.

Ronaldo now has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of those players, who went on to form the spine of the side that reached the semi-finals of the 2000-01 UEFA Champions League, as well as current first-team stars including Sam Byram, Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook.

He was delighted to have signed for the club and was grateful to his representatives - the i2i Sports Football Agency in York - for helping to facilitate the transfer.

“I’ve been training with Leeds United for a few months now, so it’s great to finally be offered a scholarship,” he said.

“A big thank you to the i2i Sports Agency who have helped to make this happen!”

Leeds are back in action this Saturday when they host Birmingham City at Elland Road and are looking for a positive response following last weekend’s disappointing 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough