Profile: Can Marcelo Ribeiro find the goals SCEB desperately need?
The Brazilian forward is the Red and Gold Brigade’s first January signing of this season.
Kolkata-based outfit SC East Bengal have signed a young forward in Marcelo Ribeiro, who has joined the ISL club on loan from Portuguese side Gil Vicente. The striker comes into the team during a time when the side are going through a rough patch. Despite getting their first win after 12 games, there is still a long way to go. The addition of Marcelo can really help bolster the team’s efficiency going forward.
He joins the side as a replacement for Daniel Chima Chukwu, who left the club following their game against Mumbai City on January 7 and has now joined Jamshedpur FC. Ribeiro is expected to make his debut for the Red and Gold against Hyderabad FC on Monday (January 24). Whether he is handed a start or plays from the bench remains to be seen.
After not managing a game with local club Portuguesa Santista, Ribeiro moved to Spain in 2020 and plied his trade in Spain’s third tier, Segunda Divison B, playing for teams like Burgos CF and UD SS Reyes. With the 24-year-old finding it hard to get game-time at Burgos, he was sent out on loan to UD San Sebastian Reyes. He played there for a season and eventually moved to Portugal with Gil Vicente FC. He played only three games before being loaned out to SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League.
Club career numbers
In a relatively nascent career, Marcelo’s numbers have been fairly decent. During his stint at Burgos CF in the 2019-20 season, he made 16 appearances and netted four times. When he changed allegiance in the same league after joining SS Reyes on loan, he improved his tally by scoring nine times in 24 matches.
He joined Gil Vicente in August 2021 and made his debut for the Primeira Liga club on the 15th of the same month. Marcelo could only feature thrice during the first six months, after which he decided to move to India to get some much-needed game-time.
Last season performance
In the 2020-21 campaign, he was with SS Reyes and had his best season so far in his young career. In all competitions, Marcelo Ribeiro featured 24 times and scored nine goals. He amassed a total of five yellow cards during those matches. The forward helped his team come second in their group in the league.
Type of Player
The 24-year-old Brazilian looks the part whenever he steps on the pitch. Standing tall at well over six feet, he proves to be quite efficient in hold-up play and can create spaces for his teammates to run into. Moreover, he can be lethal in aerial situations and has a couple of tricks up his sleeves. To surmise, he is what you would call a quintessential No. 9.
How player fits in coach’s plans
With the exit of Daniel Chima from SCEB, the club needed a forward to replace him. Marcelo seemed to fit the bill in the eyes of new head coach Mario Rivera. After having proved his credentials in their win against FC Goa, Rivera would be looking forward to working with Marcelo. The coach has already mentioned his love for “total football” and a more attacking style of play. Ribeiro can certainly fit this style if used properly.
“Marcelo is a real, authentic 9. He’s a good player in the box, a finisher that can play between the centre of the box,” coach Rivera said of his new signing ahead of the match against Hyderabad FC. “He’s a kind of a player who doesn’t need a touch of the ball for some minutes. Once he gets a touch of the ball in the box, he has the ability to score.
“That is the important thing. He’s not a player whom we’ll see have many touches or dribbles, but he’ll be ready to score provided he gets the chance. He’s a proper No. 9.”
Rivera also confirmed that the Brazilian forward will feature against Hyderabad FC. “Yes, Marcelo Ribeiro will be in the match. We still don’t know whether he’ll be a starter or will come on from the bench, but he’s ready to play,” said the SC East Bengal boss. “We need to check how many minutes he can play and we will decide on whether he will start or we’ll bring him on in the second half.”