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Portugal international midfielder Joao Mario signed for Inter Milan from Sporting Lisbon on Sunday, the Italian club confirmed.
OFFICIAL: @joaome17 is an #Inter player! He'll be at the Meazza tonight https://t.co/TgBQA8lvrN #WelcomeJoaoMario pic.twitter.com/X4gtadyyk0— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) August 28, 2016
“I followed Joao throughout the Euros and saw Portugal’s victory in the Final,” owner Jindong Zhang said, per the Nerazzurri's official website. “Now I hope to see him achieve more success wearing in an Inter shirt.”
President Erick Thohir added: “We’re delighted to have Joao Mario at Inter. He’s a top player and we’d been tracking him for a long time. He’ll further reinforce what is already a very strong squad."
Mario has shown during his time at Sporting and on the international stage that he has plenty to offer. Here is a look at the attributes he will bring to the Inter midfield:
In 2015-16, he was the standout man for his former club. Mario featured in a variety of positions in midfield, but he was always able to have an impact on matches with his brilliant spatial awareness and technical quality.
As Portuguese football writer Jan Hagen noted, he was named as the club’s player of the year.
Michael Regan/Getty Images Mario was impressive at the Euros.
His qualities were introduced to a wider audience at the 2016 UEFA European Championship in the summer, as Portugal secured a memorable triumph. Mario’s adaptability was central to the game plan of boss Fernando Santos—as was his ability to quickly convert defence into attack.
Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe is a big fan of the 23-year-old:
Box-to-box, dynamic, but with an excellent passing range and sense for goalscoring chances. Love Joao Mario. https://t.co/IYDmXAC7uK— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) April 8, 2016
The Serie A side will be delighted to have someone in the squad who offers so much attacking quality.
Mario may not be the most physical, nor the fastest, but he’s a sharp thinker with the ball at his feet. He can thread passes into space, is a brilliant crosser and is extremely nimble, able to leave defenders standing with a jerk one way before spinning the other. Given his age, he’s only going to get better.
One area he will need to improve with his new club is discipline. As these numbers from WhoScored.com show, Mario can be a little rash in the tackle:
João Mário: Committed more fouls (16) than any other player at Euro 2016 #POR pic.twitter.com/T54tcgJT09— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 12, 2016
New manager Frank de Boer will like that edginess about the Portuguese, though. He’s willing to work hard out of possession, making him useful in teams that seek to press high up the pitch. In Serie A, that industry will aid in a transitionary process a lot of players coming from abroad can find difficult to master.
Mario looked ready to step up to a higher standard last term, a notion given extra credence by his showings at the Euros. The San Siro will be an ideal platform for him to show his worth as one of the continent’s most talented creators.