Ricardo Pereira: Profile of Leicester and Portugal defender

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Ricardo Pereira of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Watford at The King Power Stadium on December 4, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

Leicester City are having a fantastic season in the Premier League. The Foxes are 2nd in the table. Despite being 13 points behind leaders Liverpool, they are above the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal conceding only 19 goals. Only leaders Liverpool have conceded less. Leicester’s backline has been outstanding even with the loss of Harry Maguire. In particular, the performances of Ricardo Pereira, who has been a revelation since moving to the King Power in 2018.

Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham have been linked with right-back. But who is the 26-year-old that hasn’t been getting enough plaudits this season? We’ll give you a profile of the Portuguese international:

Background

Born in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, Pereira started his career at Clube Futebol Benfica, before moving to Sporting CP in 2010, then to Vitoria Guimaraes a year later. It was at Vitoria where he would make his first team debut in the Premira Liga, in 2012 against F.C. Pacos de Ferreira. Pereira played 35 times in all competitions for Vitoria, scoring six in the Portuguese Cup. He became the top goal-scorer and scored the winner in the Final against Benfica. Already making impressions from the get-go.

In the summer of 2013, he moved to Portuguese powerhouse FC Porto. The defender made his debut for Porto in the Champions League play-off round against Lille in August 2014. But went on loan to Ligue 1 side Nice in 2015 where he made 57 appearances in all competitions across two seasons, including 5 in the Europa League. Returning to Porto, he made 43 appearances for the Dragons in the 2017/2018 season, winning the Primeira Liga in the process.

Ricardo Pereira in action for Nice

In the summer of 2018, Pereira moved to Leicester City for a fee of €25 million. He impressed in his first season in the Premier League, making 35 league appearances and scoring twice. including the winner against Champions Manchester City. The 26 year old won the Players’ Player of the Season and the Foxes’ Player of the Season accolades. A great start to life in England

This season, he has carried on his form from from 2018/19, with two goals in 18 league games. His strong understanding with left-back Ben Chilwell makes them the best full-back pair in the Premier League after Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson.

Ricardo Pereira – Style of Play

A former winger, Pereira is one of Leicester’s attacking threats alongside Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Ayoze Perez and Youri Tielemans. Pereira had six assists last season, with only Alexander-Arnold and Robertson getting more. The seven time capped Portuguese international has also had a dribble success rate of 68.2% this season, an increase from 65.3% last season.

Pereira is also an astute defender. From WhoScored, Pereira has averaged 4.2 tackles and 1.9 interceptions per game this season. Only Wilfred Ndidi making more defensive actions in the whole Leicester squad. A slight weakness of Pereira is winning aerial duels with only 1.6 aerial duels won, the 6th best in the Foxes’ squad.

A top player, but will he leave the Midlands?

Ricardo Pereira in action for Leicester

A Champions League quality right-back, Ricardo Pereira will be the perfect signing for Tottenham. A long overdue replacement for Kieran Trippier. However, it seems unlikely that he will leave the King Power, considering the ambition of the owners and his role in a side that looks like a shoe in for Champions League football now. Either way, Spurs should test Leicester with a bid and hope they can tempt the right back with a move to North London.

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