Vol. 5 Num 568 Sat. December 31, 2005  

Cicinho hopeful of Real fightback

Brazil defender Cicinho was officially unveiled as a Real Madrid player on Thursday and said he was confident the team would get back on the winning trail.

Cicinho posed for photographers in the white Real Madrid number 11 shirt once worn by Paco Gento, who made over 700 appearances for Real Madrid in the 1950s and 60s, winning a record six European Cups.

Real Madrid signed Cicinho, a 25-year-old attacking right back, on a five-year deal from world club champions Sao Paulo after a disappointing run that has left them fifth in the Primera Liga.

"Real Madrid is the best club in the world and we all want to be part of this team," Cicinho was quoted as saying by Europa Press news agency.

"The squad is excellent and although it's going through a difficult period and has had no luck, I am sure this phase will pass and that Real Madrid will go on being a winning team," he added.

He said he knew that Real's Brazilian former coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo influenced the club's decision to sign him, but said would work hard to gain the confidence of caretaker coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro. Lopez Caro was appointed until the end of the season when Luxemburgo was sacked three weeks ago after 11 months in the job.

Cicinho, who has an Italian passport and will not take up one of the three berths permitted for non-European Union players, joins fellow Brazilian internationals Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Julio Baptista and Robinho at Real.

Spanish media reported that the defender, part of the Brazil side that crushed Argentina 4-1 to win the Confederations Cup in June, had signed for a fee of around 4 million euros (4.75 million dollars).

Real Madrid's new signing Cicinho gestures to the press at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Thursday.. PHOTO: AFP