Chicago Fire shores up defense with signing of Brazilian defender

Updated 12/28/2018 10:32 AM

The Chicago Fire hopes it filled a problem area Thursday when it announced the signing of Brazilian central defender Marcelo dos Santos Ferreira.

The 29-year-old arrives via transfer from Sporting CP of the Portuguese first division. The Fire did not disclose the transfer fee.


He is not the same Marcelo who plays for Real Madrid and the Brazil national team.

Marcelo is signed for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He is expected to partner with veteran central defender Johan Kappelhof, whom the team hopes to re-sign, allowing Bastian Schweinsteiger to move back to his usual central midfield spot.

The Fire gave up 61 goals in 34 games last season, a big reason the club placed 10th out of 11 teams in the MLS Eastern Conference.

Among the decisions still pending is the future of coach Veljko Paunovic. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said when the season ended that he planned to re-sign Paunovic, whose initial three-year contract has lapsed, but no announcement has been made.

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