Young Monchique footballer moves to Italy

Zé Maria, a 16-year-old footballer from Monchique who was currently playing for Portimonense, is on his way to Italy to play for Serie A team Palermo.

Speaking to sports newspaper O Jogo, the youngster said “the opportunity came after I played some tournaments in Italy during the summer”.

“They must have seen me playing, as they already knew about me when they asked me to go train with them.”

After a few practices with the Italian team, Palermo offered him a contract.

Zé Maria will start playing in Palermo’s under-17 squad but says he hopes to make the club’s second ‘Primavera’ team soon.

No further details about the deal have been revealed.

This is not the first time that Portimonense has lost players to big Italian teams.

Fábio Nunes, now playing for Belenenses in Portugal’s Primeira Liga, moved to Parma in 2011 and another promising youngster Pedro Delgado left Portimonense for Inter in 2013.

Meantime, Zé Maria’s hometown team Monchiquense has celebrated the move and said it will be “unconditionally rooting for his success”.

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