Jose Cifuentes finally, after a lot of red herrings, secured his move from Rangers today, with the deal being reached right on the Brazilian deadline of 7th of March.
The contract is a loan, but there will be an option to buy, so assuming Cifu impresses in South America for his new side Cruzeiro, they will trigger that option at the end of the calendar year.
In simple terms, the Ecuador international has played his last match for Rangers and sadly for him, the much-hyped sojourn into European football didn’t really work for him.
Rangers fans looked at the initial CV and believed we were getting a £15M asset, one of the MLS’ shining stars and LAFC’s best player, and while it was a bit left-field to go for such a random target, he looked like he had all the tools to succeed in Scotland.
And his first couple of matches were promising – he was big, strong, powerful, and sharp in the pass, with opponents bouncing off him such was his upper body strength.
Unfortunately, he didn’t quite click with the game overall – Cifu looked very, very lost under Michael Beale, who of course brought him to Scotland.
The midfielder seemed out of place, sticking out like a sore thumb, and simply didn’t fit in. And he didn’t look much better under Philippe Clement, despite fans believing he wasn’t given a fair chance.
He actually was – he got 800 minutes under Beale, 100 under Steven Davis and 400 under Clement.
That’s 1300 minutes of his mostly looking lost, unfortunately.
His heart just didn’t seem to be in this club, this city – it does happen, overseas players come to Europe and find themselves isolated and lost, a culture shock.
LA is quite different to Glasgow, let’s not forget!
But Cifu was really lost by the football, and clearly the step up in quality, particularly in the Champions League and Europa League, he found hard to deal with.
He also struggled with the pace of the SPL, it was simply too quick for him.
Going from the relaxed environment of the MLS to the intensity of Ibrox drowned him, as it has done with better players.
And Philippe Clement simply wasn’t impressed. If Cifu had been part of his plans, the manager would have vetoed any exit, but the boss wasn’t for keeping him.
We have no gripe with Cifu and wish him the best.
He just wasn’t suited to the club.