More Latin stars set to arrive

French reports have linked experienced Brazilian central defender Claudio Cacapa with Panathinaikos. He has three caps with Brazil but also holds a French passport, after playing at French champion Lyon for seven seasons. «I would be very much interested in coming to Greece. There are many good teams there and Panathinaikos meets my ambitions,» said Cacapa. The 31-year-old player could be an answer to Panathinaikos’s desperate situation at the center of the team’s defense, where the only fit and experienced defender available is captain Yiannis Goumas. If Cacapa does come to Panathinaikos, he will be the second Brazilian to join the Greens this summer, after the advent of Marcelo Mattos from Corinthians. This actually confirms a certain Brazilian trend at Panathinaikos along with last year’s signing of since-departed Ricardo Bovio. It also reverses the traditional preference Panathinaikos has had for Argentinean soccer players, which still has two of that country’s midfielders on the club’s current roster: Ezequiel Gonzalez and Sebastian Romero. On the other hand, for the last decade at least, archrival Olympiakos has built its domestic dominance on the flair and flamboyance of its Brazilian stars, such as Giovanni, Ze Elias, Rivaldo and most recently Julio Cesar. Yet this summer Olympiakos is going the opposite way of Panathinaikos, now that Rivaldo has moved to AEK: Two players from Argentina have already moved to Piraeus (Leonel Nunez and Luciano Galleti) and a third is to be added shortly. Cristian Raul Ledesma, of Argentine champion San Lorenzo, is reportedly coming to Greece tomorrow or on Thursday to sign his three-year contract with Olympiakos, after agreeing to terms with the Piraeus club. He is a 28-year-old defensive midfielder who has played in seven Argentinean clubs, including River Plate, as well as in Germany and Mexico. He was considered one of the keys to San Lorenzo’s title-winning campaign this year.

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