• Thu. Oct 5th, 2023

Another day, another class signing for Lion City Sailors.

Jul 14, 2023

Lion City Sailors have unveiled midfielder Rui Pires as their new signing and is hoping that he will add quality to the club’s midfield engine room and strengthening the team for the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League campaign.

The club had earlier unveiled defender Bailey Wright and forward Richairo Živković, and with Pires, the Sailors look set for its second ACL campaign in September. 

“The Sailors are the best club in Singapore, and the club’s mentality exactly matches my own: I want to keep playing at the highest level, win matches for the Sailors, and I promise you I will keep doing the right things that can help us win titles,” said the 25-year-old.

Prior to joining the Sailors, he plied his trade as a defensive midfielder for FC Paços de Ferreira in the Primeira Liga, the top tier of Portuguese football. 


He began his journey in the acclaimed youth system of FC Porto, where he progressed through the ranks, featuring prominently in its Under-15, U17, and U19 sides. 

He was subsequently promoted to Porto’s B side, competing in Liga Portugal 2, the second tier of Portuguese football. 

After a successful stint, Pires made a permanent move to French second-tier side Troyes in July 2019. 


Following two seasons in France and winning the 2020/21 Ligue 2 title, he returned to Portugal on loan with FC Paços de Ferreira before securing a permanent deal.

“Rui could well be the final piece of the jigsaw for us,” said Sailors Head Coach Aleksander Jankovic. 

“More than just experience from his time in Europe, Rui’s sharp positioning, anticipation and tackling can be the defensive shield that gives our frontline to attack in the way that we want.

“The ACL is where we will test ourselves against the best in Asia, and to have Rui fit into the spine of our team will give us a good platform to go out there and compete for the results that will put the Sailors on the map of Asian football.” 


During his time with Paços Ferreira, Pires demonstrated his capabilities on the European stage, making two appearances in the UEFA Europa Conference League Qualifiers. Notably, he played the full 90 minutes against Tottenham Hotspur in the Qualifying Round 2nd leg, showcasing his composure and skill at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Pires has also captained various age-group teams for Portugal, earning call-ups – and the armband – at the U18, U19, and U20 levels. 

His standout performances in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2017 led to his inclusion in the prestigious Team of the Tournament.


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