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Former Portuguese international defender Ricardo Ferreira commits to Canada

The Canadian centreback pool has added some important depth.

Sporting CP V SC Braga - Primeira Liga Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Ahead of a critical 2021 campaign for the Canadian men’s national team, they look to have added yet another player to their pool. Canada Soccer announced today that, pending his change of national associations paperwork, Ricardo Ferreira will switch his international allegiances from Portugal to Canada.

Ferreira, a 28-year-old centreback born in Mississauga, Ontario has long been a player coveted by the Canadian program. Starting his youth career with TFC academy, he also spent time in the AC Milan academy, and has played most of his career for SC Braga in the Portuguese top division. Ferreira is currently without club, but is expected to find another in short order.

“It’s been a long journey with Ricardo,” head coach John Herdman told the Canadian Press’ Neil Davidson. “It looked like we’d lost him at one point when he made his debut for Portugal. Since that date, there’s been many a conversation, many a presentation, just to see if we could coax him back into a red jersey with that Maple Leaf on.

“Of the three years of conversations, the last one was a really good one. And it’s a proud moment to see a player of his stature and experience pledge his allegiance to Canada.”

Injuries have largely derailed Ferreira’s career, as he missed most of the past two years with an ACL injury. Despite this, he had held out hope that he could return to the Portuguese national team fold, with whom he made one appearance in 2017.

Should Ferreira be able to return to the level he was playing at then, he could be a massive addition for the senior men’s team. His experience, coupled with a solid technical ability might instantly make him the most skilled centreback on the team.

Canada’s centreback pool has already been given a boost in recent years with fellow Portuguese-Canadian dual international Steven Vitoria joining the ranks. Most recently, Scott Kennedy’s performances for Jahn Regensburg in the 2.Bundesliga means Canada’s outlook at the position continues to look better and better.

This comes as just the latest dual national win for Herdman, as he recently added Theo Corbeanu, Frank Sturing and Cristian Gutierrez to his player pool. He has also been in talks with Toronto FC’s Ayo Akinola and Arsenal youth player Marcelo Flores, both of whom were invited but were unable to attend January’s senior national team camp.

“We have worked hard to build the trust in Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Program through our performances on the field and work off the field,” added Herdman in a press release. “Ricardo Ferreira is a modern centre back who has played at good levels in Europe, so we look forward to adding his experience to the Men’s National Team Program in 2021.”