SHARJAH // The Arabian Gulf League's latest Brazilian recruit says he will not be bowed by the pressure to emulate his celebrated compatriots in UAE football.
Jose Carlos Ferreira Filho, more commonly known as Ze Carlos, was this week confirmed as Sharjah's first significant signing of the summer after agreeing a two-year contract with the newly promoted side.
Having most recently represented Chanchung Yatai in the Chinese Super League, Ze Carlos has lived a somewhat nomadic existence across spells in East Asia and Brazil, representing 12 clubs since making his professional debut in 2004 for Ulsan Hyundai, the South Korean side.
According to Sharjah, during the past four years Ze Carlos has scored an impressive 84 goals in 108 matches.
The forward will seek to continue that prolificacy in the Emirates and, although he concedes he knows little about the game here, the 30-year-old South American has taken encouragement from his countrymen at Al Ahli and Al Shabab.
"I know Grafite and Ciel well and have strong friendships with them," Ze Carlos said. "So I know the extent of the success they've achieved in the UAE league. But I'm not worried about living up to those standards. On the contrary, it provides me a strong motivation to be like them."
Ze Carlos's arrival marks the first step in what should be a serious strengthening of Sharjah's foreign resources before the 2013/14 campaign kicks off on September 15.
Paulo Bonamigo, the new coach, has identified potential targets to ensure his side can compete on their return to the top flight, with the club's board anticipating the acquisition of two more expatriates in the next few days.
Chief concerns are in central defence and midfield.
Adding experience is key, too, as Bonamigo currently possesses an extremely young squad. Ze Carlos, though, does not necessarily view that as a disadvantage.
"I'd a similar experience in Brazil and we succeeded because of teamwork and a dedication to training," he said. "A successful team always works as one family and Sharjah have chosen a great coach who believes in this. He was one of the main reasons I chose to come here ahead of the many offers I had.
"I'm a player who loves a challenge, and I decided on Sharjah despite knowing they were coming back to the top league and had young players. There's nothing easy in football; it requires sacrifice and fighting for the club badge and your reputation as a player. I'm here because I'm convinced that, with work, we can achieve our goals."
Sharjah's chief executive, Ibrahim Al Nemer, said Bonamigo was instrumental in bringing Ze Carlos to the club and that negotiations were protracted given the number of options on the table.
Ibrahim also hopes to bolster the Emirati ranks with a new goalkeeper - Abdulla Mousa, the Ahli custodian, has been mooted - and a defender, however he would not reveal names.
"We've succeeded in signing [Ze Carlos] and within a few days we'll announce new deals for foreign players who are on the cusp of the club," Al Nemer said. "We've also initiated many negotiations with clubs to attract local players, but we're still waiting for a response."
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