Thursday, 29 June 2017

Brilliance of Bruno - how Pedro pulled off a masterstroke

 Article by: Ibrox Noise

Rangers fans have fond memories of Carlos Cuellar’s time at Ibrox. Frankly the Spaniard was a colossal defender for Rangers, forming an immense partnership with David Weir and operating at a level above what fans were used to – his positional sense, strength, aerial ability and composure on the ball were major contributors to Rangers’ incredible run to Manchester in 08 and the lad broke our hearts when he departed for Birmingham that summer.

It is safe to say Rangers have not really been embarrassed by a plunder of riches in that part of the pitch since. Sure, there has been Madjid Bougherra, Carlos Bocanegra and Dorin Goian – all internationalists and all doing the Famous a decent turn. But none of them were exceptional at Ibrox, not like at the level of Cuellar. 

In Bruno Alves,  Pedro Caixinha has signed a defender who is every inch the best stopper Rangers have had since the Spaniard left for Villa, and it still beggars belief that we have managed to secure a genuinely top class Portuguese centre back who has played at every level, won the second biggest tournament there is, and who has easily handled world class strikers throughout his career like Carlos Bacca, Paolo Dybala, Alexis Sanchez and Gareth Bale.

Some have gone as far as to call him world class, and while it would be generous to go that far, he certainly has operated at a level which suggests it would not be the biggest stretch.

His display last night against the attacking might of Chile, with their top class creative sparks from the likes of aforementioned Sanchez, Vidal and Vargas just gave some idea of what Rangers fans can expect when he takes to the Ibrox turf. He was huge in the air – dominating everything Chile threw in, while strong on the ground and being in the right place at the right time nearly every time.

This was a significant stage, and Alves handled it easily. Cuellar left Rangers to get a place for Spain – he never even received a call up and he was magnificent for Walter Smith. Meanwhile Rangers now have an international veteran with plenty of experience of the Champions League, the Portuguese Premier League, the Russian and Turkish not to mention world cups and European Championships.

In short, Alves has the kind of CV the SPL simply is not worthy of, and Rangers did a tremendous job prising him away from the sun of Sardinia and glamorous Serie A locations like San Siro, Juventus Stadium and Rome.

Instead he has Dingwall, Easter Road and Rugby Park to get ‘excited’ about.

But here he is, a Rangers player, and the first sign at long last that Rangers have a defender of the highest quality.

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