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Profile: Dinamo Zagreb full-back Ivo Pinto could prove to be a bargain for Norwich City

06:30 06 January 2016

Armin Hodzic of Dinamo Zagreb celebrates scoring a goal with Ivo Pinto (right) during a UEFA Champions League Qualifying Round Play Off Second Leg match between Dinamo Zagreb and FC Skenderbeu at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, Croatia on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Armin Hodzic of Dinamo Zagreb celebrates scoring a goal with Ivo Pinto (right) during a UEFA Champions League Qualifying Round Play Off Second Leg match between Dinamo Zagreb and FC Skenderbeu at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, Croatia on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

2015 Getty Images

As links with Ivo Pinto persist for Norwich City, David Freezer finds out more about the Zagreb full-back.

Profile

Age: 26 (born January 7, 1990)

From: Lourosa, Portugal

Height: 6ft

Weight: 11st 8lbs

Previous clubs: Dinamo Zagreb, CFR Cluj, União de Leiria, Porto (youth), Boavista (youth)

Honours: Croatian Prva Liga (2014, 2015), Croatian Cup (2015)

Ivo Pinto may not be a household name in England but his impressive CV suggests that may soon change if the Portuguese full-back does join Norwich City.

When speculation about Pinto’s arrival first emerged, there were few Canaries fans aware of the Dinamo Zagreb defender’s talents.

Yet the 25-year-old – who could become the first Portuguese player to play for City – has regularly played Champions League and Europa League football in recent seasons, and has been on the fringes of the Portugal squad.

If Pinto’s career continues on its current upward curve then Norwich could well have discovered an excellent Premier League asset.

Ivo Daniel Ferreira Mendonça Pinto is originally from the parish of Lourosa in northern Portugal, south of Porto, and celebrates his 26th birthday tomorrow.

He developed as a youth player with top-flight sides Boavista and Porto but had to go out on loan to lower league teams to get game-time.

The defender then signed permanently for another Primeira Liga club, Rio Ave, when his contract expired in 2011 but was immediately loaned to União Leiria.

Pinto finally started playing regularly, at the age of 21, but the team suffered relegation to the second tier at the end of the 2011/12 campaign.

That prompted a move to Romanian champions CFR Cluj – where several Portuguese players were already making names for themselves – bringing his first experience of the Champions League.

He started all six of Cluj’s group games, beating Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford and Braga twice, as well as drawing 1-1 at Galatasaray. That meant narrowly missing out on qualification and dropping in to the Europa League, where they were knocked out by Inter Milan.

A move to Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb followed in 2013, with Pinto reportedly signing a four-year deal after a fee of around €5million was agreed.

Pinto’s career continued on an upward curve as he helped Zagreb to win the title again in 2014 and 2015, also playing regularly in the Europa League, including a 4-3 home win against Celtic in December 2014.

According to the player’s official website – ivopinto.com – his first season in Croatia was an overwhelming success.

“The first season in Croatia couldn’t have been better,” the website’s biography section says.

“Playing in 43 official games, Ivo Pinto was national champion and an essential element in this conquest with decisive passes to goal.

“The Croatian fans were delighted with his talent and the readers of the website Tribina.hr elected him the best right-back in the league.

“In the middle of the season, the Sportske Novosti, the only sportive paper in Croatia, considered the Portuguese one of the best five foreigners playing in the country.”

Zagreb returned to the Champions League this season, finishing bottom of Group F. Pinto started three of Dinamo’s group matches: a 2-1 home defeat of Arsenal, a 3-0 away loss to the Gunners and a 2-0 defeat at Bayern Munich.

Pinto has also represented Portugal at youth levels, from under-16 through to under-21 and has been selected for the senior squad, although he is yet to earn his first cap.

In October 2014 Pinto was named in Fernando Santos’ first squad as Portugal head coach, for a friendly against France and a Euro 2016 qualifying clash with Denmark.

He was an unused substitute for those games and has not since returned to the international fold but will hope the profile of the Premier League will boost his chances of making it to this summer’s tournament – where Portugal are in Group F alongside Iceland, Hungary and Austria.

It is an impressive career to date and with Norwich reportedly set to pay around £2.2m for Pinto’s services, Alex Neil could just have found the sort of bargain which Premier League managers are striving for.

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39 comments

  • I don't know why city are chasing players, they won't get as for Charlie Austin he has said he will only move to a big premiership club and there have been bids on other foreign players That have turn us down they want a bigger club than us we are not bigger enough not attract quietly players. Looks grim to fined better players we will have to look at Scottish and championship clubs again as its good to be hard to get anywhere else.

    Report this comment

    City man

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

  • Oh Dubai , thats good, at least you resisted Vinny Grete and Mayon Hayes

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • This is what the bootifull game is all about, speculation, intrgue and a few scalps along the way. Can't wait for the press reports each day, see wos goan on. AN is building a squad under McNallys careful scrutiny that probably looks like promising potential that may not cost too much if it all goes sadly wrong. No chance we are looking OK and some others AV really lost their lives way. Can't wait for Man city on Saturday gonna sing like a canary. Happy days otbc

    Report this comment

    twopips

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Ha ha Dubai, where did you dig that ol gem from? I hate salad dressings.

    Report this comment

    spanishcanary

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Does anyone know if it is true that we have made a bid for Vinagreta de Aguacate, from Colombia ?

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Spooky Dingo, so did mine. Once she started at T.E.S.C.O, she started coming home late from the D.I.S.C.O ending in D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

    Report this comment

    spanishcanary

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • OTFBC my missus once worked for T.E.S.C O. Not for long luckily!

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Mellow_Yellow - E, I note "pivo" bro. O, the ding of pennies dropping elsewhere. Better late than never! Bring back li'l Benno from Blackburn. (Lobbo told me to say that).

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Very valid point there Spanish, our national media still seem to think that Leeds are a big club based on history alone.Next season I predict Villa will have more coverage than the usual suspects at the top of our league. So its time for these agents to get real and advise their clients that to be a bigger fish here is better than being a number elsewhere.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • To the tune of D.I.S.C.O - P.I.N.T.O (4x) this would also work for D.I.N.G.O!

    Report this comment

    OTFBC

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Wouldn't surprise me Wiv, wonder how many agents and players just look at history and the size of the club and or city to make their decisions. Big club, long way to fall. If you come to Norwich you could be a hero, if you go to one of the so called big teams, you could simply disappear amongst a bunch of highly paid premo´s. $$$$$$$$$ v Football

    Report this comment

    spanishcanary

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • WOW Canaryjon , that means this is Sky Sports 500th anniversary.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Hi Dingo, not sure about this guy, but I had not heard of Grant Holt who also travelled around the lower levels of the leagues. Just look how that one turned out. He may turn out to be a rock, we will have to wait and see and give the chap a chance. Nice to have a thread with logic and humour in equal measures and no Stewpyd remarks.

    Report this comment

    spanishcanary

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • While trying to get web info on this deal, news that Radicchio ishas about tohas signed for Liverpool and Norwich have had an £11m bid for Kalidou Koulibaly turned down by Napoli.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Spanish: I didn't miss your Pinto puns btw!

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Just announced on Sky Sports (1516) deal agreed for Pinto at 2.2m stirling,paperwork needs to be signed but looks good

    Report this comment

    canaryjon

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • I agree with Jimhow too. The last thing we need in this window is a lemon, but I honestly have no idea how good Pinto is. Byram I have seen and at twice the Pinto money with Lafferty going the other way it should work out about the same? Where's my accountant?

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Loads of logical and well thought out theories on here today. I have one reference the Pinto signing. Maybe it is proving very difficult to find a quality CB to fit our budget and AN´s requirements, so we buy another RB to compete with Wisdom. This would at least leave RM as a back up for a centre back slot if needed. Not ideal but better than no cover, just a thought. If we get a CB in nothing has been lost, if we don't at least we have some cover in reserve.

    Report this comment

    spanishcanary

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Totally agree with you Jimhow. Pinto has never scored a goal in his career too and Byram had 3 last month. I know its not all about the goals as RB, but playing the system of a lone striker all players should chip in. It has to be Byram for Lafferty and then extra cash if required to Leeds. Jonny Howson should help get him in.

    Report this comment

    OTFBC

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Right back is one of our soft spots though. Wisdom is only on loan, and is not as good as Martin going forward. Martin struggles against wingers. Stop the crosses coming in and the centre backs don't have as many problems.

    Report this comment

    Erpingham Tractor

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Irongloves good comments. I dont know much about Pinto but he is 25 and if time is needed to bed him in then why bother. A young 22yr old Sam Byram from leeds for 6mil plus lafferty would be a far better buy, knows English football, young enough to improve and an asset for us for future years whatever division we are in.

    Report this comment

    Jimhow

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Ivo Pinto Beero

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Hopefully the main focus is on centrebacks, but should that not pan out, then don't forget Wisdom prefers centre back, and before anyone says that won't work, Bennett and others did not immediately star in their first game, and this would only be a short term fix for this season if nothing else came to fruition.

    Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Whether he is a bargain depends on how well he can perform. From his video he certainly has a lot of pace but from what I see I think he will just be a backup to what we already have. I would have preferred the signing of a young promising British RB. There must be a few about in the lower Divs. Foreigners always need more time to bed in and there is no guarantee they can adopt to our football.

    Report this comment

    irongloves

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Rick, don't get me wrong I would be delighted to think that we have the funds to both improve the immediate areas of concern and strengthen the squad in general. My comments were more around our limited cash and whether the coffers could fund both short term needs to remain in the Premier League in addition to general squad strengthening which I am sure we all agree is also much needed.

    Report this comment

    Hoppy

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Reg, regarding RM we are in agreeance. Keep him as cover, he appears the consummate professional, the type that would make a good squad player and not rock the boat. That would make Wisdom and Whittaker surplus to requirements then, assuming of course that we manage to strengthen our central defence which we have all been crying out for!

    Report this comment

    Hoppy

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Hoppy, whilst I'm perfectly happy to accept that there are priority areas that need strengthening, does it also not make sense to sign players in any position that will ultimately improve the overall quality of the squad ? Of course there are immediate needs, but , as a PL club we need to look long term as well, and if quality players become available at the right price, we must invest. The Man Citehs, Chelseas , MoanUres of this world do this to the n'th degree...ie sign players to bolster the squad, but do not necessarily become 1st team regulars straight away . Russ Martin has been a stalwart, but will not go on forever, and are you suggesting that he cannot be improved upon ?

    Report this comment

    Rick

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • I agree Gruff, but are such stalwarts available? Hoppy, you appear to assume that RM has to be accommodated? In my view he has been one of our weaker players both at CB and RB. I would have thought his role, if he is to remain at NCFC, is that of cover to others? As to the gamble in signing overseas players, VOO makes some sensible reading in another article, talking about the time needed to adjust to English football.

    Report this comment

    Reg Breeze

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Would be happy with this signing however it does raise more than a few questions....... Unless I am mistaken he plays right sided full back? So where does this leave Russell Martin? Surely not back to centre half? Or maybe as cover to Martin? But if this is the case surely with limited cash we should be looking to sign players in this window that would make a difference and be in the starting line up and improving the team not merely adding to the squad?

    Report this comment

    Hoppy

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Sky reports that deal with Pinto has been agreed.

    Report this comment

    Hurdy Gurdy Man

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Hooper had Champions League experience, whether he was a good buy is open to debate, however, he is out on loan. As far as Pinto goes, Porto, Sporting or Benfica didn't recognise his talent and he went to the Romanian League on his way to Dinamo Zagreb. From what I heard he isn't in the reckoning for a place in the national squad. I would of thought the time to gamble on whether a player is a talent that can hit the ground running would surely be at the beginning of the season so that any unfortunate consequences could be rectified. January would, I imagine, be the time to get a tried and tested Premier League standard stalwart in defence to see us safely through to another season in the Premier League.

    Report this comment

    Gruff

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • "I think the Radiccio rumour may have been a plant." ... Ah, you mean a load of old Horse ...

    Report this comment

    Harve Volley

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • I like him. Nice short name. You can pronounce it easily. Can he play ? Irrelevant really as most posters on here are convinced that the January transfer window is going to somehow give us a super team....just like that. So let's just buy a few players, and let the magic happen.

    Report this comment

    Erpingham Tractor

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • I like him. Nice short name. You can pronounce it easily. Can he play ? Irrelevant really as most posters on here are convinced that the January transfer window is going to somehow give us a super team....just like that. So let's just buy a few players, and let the magic happen.

    Report this comment

    Erpingham Tractor

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • I think the Radiccio rumour may have been a plant.

    Report this comment

    PaulWho

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Surely the problem here is that a good proportion of the signings we've made from Europe have been flops ? Of course RvW is the most recent and high profile, but there have been plenty others . However is not that true of other clubs, and, for the record, for signings made from the British Isles as well ? Add to that the suspicious nature of fans when they see a potential signing being made at a price that they consider to be on the cheap . On the basis that a club like Norwich simply cannot afford to go out and buy top name Internationals there is always going to be a degree of risk with signings like Pinto . It applies everywhere . For example, with Elliott Bennett's track record of injury, aren't Blackburn taking a big gamble when they signed him ? In the end we just need to trust the scouts and coaches and, if this deal happens, hope that we , as the article says, have indeed unearthed a gem.

    Report this comment

    Rick

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • Much needed addition, but is he going to sign? It's been going on a long time now...

    Report this comment

    JimBob

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • If Pinto does sign and does turn out to be good acquisition it underlines my view that a cross Europe there are quality players available at sensible prices due to the simple economic fact that 95 per cent of European clubs are relatively poor because they don't have access to the kind of tv money seen in the Prem League and what there is, gets monopolised by the small top echelon. Added to that few clubs across Europe have decent marketing set-ups, so lack the commercial benefits which are exploited in the UK. Of course the bottom line is being able to have the scouting system that can identify true talent and not rely on agents' assessments, videos and so on.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

  • I think there might be some legs in this rumour. For the life of me though, I can't understand why he's being sold so cheap. Surely with his Champions league experience, the big boys must have spotted him. As for the Radicchio rumour, I read that he turned us down in favour of Bologna.

    Report this comment

    canarytrev

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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