Who is Orlando Pirates new signing Caio Marcelo?

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Goal did a background check on the left-footed defender, who officially joined the Buccaneers on Friday after being registered with the PSL

Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants Orlando Pirates finally announced the signing of Brazilian defender Caio Marcelo on Monday.

The young defender joined the Buccaneers after impressing the club's technical team during a trial stint which began during the off-season.

Goal did a background check on the 20-year-old player.


YOUTH AND EARLY FOOTBALL


Caio Marcelo PS

Marcelo whose full name is Caio Marcelo Pinheiro da Silva, was born in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil two decades ago.

The lanky player began playing youth football as a 15-year-old in 2013 at Nova Iguaçu FC, who are based within the Rio de Janeiro municipality. 

Marcelo played for Carrossel da Baixada in the Iguaçuano Under-17 Championship before being promoted to the club's under-20 side. 

According to the club's official website, Marcelo made 90 appearances and scored five goals for the team as they clinched the 2016 Carioca Championship Series B-20 Sub-20 title. 


LOAN MOVE TO VASCO DA GAMA 


His exploits did not go unnoticed as he attracted interest from Vasco Da Gama, who are campaigning in Brazil's top flight league, Campeonato Brasileiro Série A.

In July 2017, Vasco Da Gama signed Marcelo on a season-long loan deal with an option to purchase from Iguaçu at the end of the loan agreement.

Marcelo was ecstatic after completing his transfer to Vasco's under-20 side as a 19-year-old defender. 

"It's an accomplished dream, for sure. I worked hard to win this opportunity to play for a great club like Vasco da Gama," Marcelo said at the time. 

"The club is in the Carioca U20 final and has been to the semi-finals of the Brazilian Cup. It is doing a great job and has great players as well as an excellent coach," he continued.

"I am very motivated, and I thank Nova Iguacu for giving me the opportunity to play here," he concluded.


SPOTTED BY ORLANDO PIRATES 


Rhulani Mokwena assistant coach of Orlando Pirates

The left-footed player was part of the Vasco team that lost 3-1 to Pirates' Project X side which traveled Rio de Janeiro in April 2018.

The young Bucs team faced Brazilian clubs such as Fluminense, Botafogo, Flamengo as well as Vasco Da Gama. 

Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena, who took charge of the Project X team in Brazil, is said to have spotted Marcelo during one of the matches while he was there.

Vasco did not extend Marcelo's stay and he returned to his parent club, before heading to Pirates for trials in July 2018.

Marcelo was part of Bucs' pre-season camps in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga and Ndola, Zambia where he featured in friendly matches.

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The promising centre back was able to impress Pirates head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredoejvic's technical team and he signed a long-term deal with the club.

Marcelo is comfortable as a centre-back, but he can also play as a left-back. 

He's not a pacey defender, but he his passing game sets him apart - a more 'old school' centre-back who also likes to play long balls to teammates.   

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