Belfast Telegraph

Ciaran’s Brazilian dream put on ice by untimely break

By Frank Brownlow

Ciaran Ryan has suffered a setback in his bid to establish himself as Northern Ireland’s first professional footballer in Brazil.

The 18-year-old flew to South America last month to sign for Brazilian club Porto Alegre, but was injured in one of his first training sessions.

The County Armagh youngster fractured a bone in his foot and is currently wearing a cast.

Ryan was spotted — while on the books of Championship side Loughgall — by Thiago Denardin, manager of the Marcet Foundation in Northern Ireland.

The Marcet Foundation are linked to Loughgall — after switching from Armagh City — placing young players from around the world with the club as part of a football and educational development programme.

Denardin has contacts at Porto Alegre — owned by AC Milan superstar Ronaldinho's brother Roberto de Assis Moreira — and recommended the midfielder to the club.

Ryan jetted off to Brazil last month — after a hitch over flight tickets delayed his departure — to sign a one year deal, with Loughgall believed to be in line for a percentage of any future transfer fee.

Stephen Hatfield, who coached Ryan at Loughgall, said the youngster was upbeat despite the unfortunate start to his career in Brazil. “Ciaran suffered an injury just after he went over. It is a minor fracture of a bone in his foot. He is wearing a cast,” he said.

“It happened in a training session the second week he was there and he will be out for another couple of weeks,” said Hatfield.

Ryan will be spending Christmas in Brazil, with Porto Alegre’s season set to start next month.

He will put his time on the sidelines to good use, learning Portuguese and working on his upper body strength in the gym.

“Ciaran is in a bit of discomfort but has settled in well and will be back in full training after Christmas,” added Hatfield.

Marcet boss Denardin outlined what impressed him about Ryan. He said: “Ciaran is a very good player — I could see that from the first moment I saw him.

“In one match I watched, he set up four goals.

“The first few months will be the most difficult for Ciaran because he will be settling in and learning Portuguese. He will be adapting to a new culture.

“He is on a one-year professional contract, on the payroll of Porto Allegre.

“Ciaran’s deal is not with the Marcet Foundation. His deal with Porto Allegre is separate from the foundation. I just happen to work for the Marcet Foundation.

“The Marcet Foundation are working with Loughgall.

“Ciaran initially came into Brazil with a visa that allowed him to train with Porto Allegre but then as soon as he signed his contract this was shown to the immigration authorities to illustrate that he was guaranteed to be paid and had somewhere to live while he was in the country.

“After that there is no problem with him playing in Brazil.

“In the initial deal there is no money for Loughgall, just for Ciaran.

“Ciaran receives money for his work — playing for Porto Allegre.

“Loughgall will not receive money at the moment but in the future they may receive money if Ciaran moves to another team.

“I don’t know what the percentage would be. I am not party to that information — that would be between Porto Allegre and Loughgall.

“My role in the move was simply helping Ciaran because, for me, he is a great player.”

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