Reading sign Brazilian goalkeeper Rafael from Sampdoria

READING have signed Brazilian goalkeeper Rafael on a three-year contract from Italian club Sampdoria.

Rafael becomes the second keeper purchased by Jose Gomes this summer after 19-year-old Joao Virginia was brought in from Everton earlier in the summer.

The 29-year-old keeper will wear the number 33 shirt for the Royals this season.

“In Rafael, we have a goalkeeper who can bring valuable experience of football having played at the very highest level,” said Reading manager Jose Gomes.

“He will be an excellent addition to our core team of goalkeepers and I look forward to welcoming him into my squad.”

The 6’1” stopper soon became a regular at the Estádio Vila Belmiro and made more than 100 appearances for Santos before swapping South America for Europe in signing for Napoli in 2013.

Initially playing understudy to Pepe Reina, Rafael soon became Rafa Benitez’s no.1 at Stadio San Paolo, making his debut against Udinese in December 2013.

His first taste of European competition came in two different tournaments that season as he featured against Arsenal in the Champions League in 2013, before playing Swansea in the Europa League.

The Royals are still expected to bolster their squad even further before the transfer deadline on Thursday evening.

Chief Executive Nigel Howe said: “We enjoyed success with a South American goalkeeper between the posts last season and Rafael, a player with international, European and top flight football included on his CV, will be an excellent addition to our team of first team goalkeepers. So I am very proud to welcome Rafael to Reading.”

Andy Preston

Sports reporter for The Wokingham Paper. Sport Journalism graduate from the University of Brighton.

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