Saturday, 13 October 2012

Torino's 'Cult Heroes' #3 : Pinga

André Luciano da Silva - more commonly known by the nickname Pinga, arrived from the unfortunately named Brazilian club Juventus SP in 1999.

The skillful attacking midfielder made only seven appearances in his debut season, but showed his quality by scoring a brace against AC Milan in April 2000. However, he was unable to prevent Torino being relegated to Serie B at the end of that campaign.

The Granata bounced back to Serie A at the first attempt the following season, and Pinga contributed by scoring twice in twenty-two games. In the 2001-02 season, Torino achieved an impressive 11th place finish, but the Brazilian only made five appearances and was therefore loaned to Siena for two seasons in order to play regularly.

After helping Siena gain promotion to Serie A, Pinga returned to recently relegated Torino ahead of the 2003-04 season with the aim of helping the team make an immediate return to the top flight. It was during this season that the playmaker began to wear a Granata coloured bandana during matches, and he also seemed to have put on a few more pounds in his stint away from the club.
 
However, despite the larger waistline, he managed to enjoy his most successful season in a Torino shirt by scoring six times in an otherwise unforgettable season as Toro finished in mid-table. The following season, with the bandana now discarded (apparently for being unlucky), Pinga improved on his goal tally once again by scoring nine times (including a goal in the Playoff semi-final against Ascoli) to help Toro finally gain promotion to the top flight.
 
However, as we know, Torino were denied promotion to Serie A due to their financial problems, and after all their contracted players were released following bankruptcy, Pinga moved on to Treviso. A move back to Brazil with Internacional followed, and despite only being 31, he has spent the last four seasons in the United Arab Emirates, and currently plies his trade with Al Dhafra.

Grazie Pinga.

If you have any suggestions of any players who should appear in future editions of 'Cult Heroes' you can contact me via the comments section or on Twitter.

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