Porto left-back Rafa Soares is flattered by reported interest from Liverpool, but insists he is solely focused on breaking into Sergio Conceicao’s squad.
Omnisport understands that Liverpool are one of a number of Premier League clubs to have taken an interest in Soares, who spent last season on loan at Porto’s Primeira Liga rivals Rio Ave.
The Portugal youth international, who is yet to feature for Porto’s senior team, made 38 appearances in all competitions in 2016-17 – scoring three goals and contributing seven assists.
But with Porto in financial trouble after breaking UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, which has already prompted the estimated €40million sale of Andre Silva to AC Milan, Soares – out of contract in 2020 and with a €15m release clause – could be sacrificed at the Estadio Dragao.
“I know I’ve been followed by English clubs especially after our campaign,” Soares told Omnisport. “Liverpool are a great club and to be linked is an enormous honour for me.
“I followed Liverpool from a young age and I shiver every time I listen to You’ll Never Walk Alone, it’s unique! Liverpool are famous and popular in Portugal where people value the history of a club.
“I’m naturally flattered, but I’m a Porto player and focused on succeeding here.
“My main goal is to establish myself and get first-team football. I feel ready and confident that after my last season I will be given a chance.
“I keep my feet on the ground and focus on climbing my way up one step at a time. Fans support and trust me to become a symbol of the club, as I have been here for over 10 years and feel Porto in my bones.
“In 2015-16 it was rumoured Conceicao wanted me to join him in Vitoria Guimaraes – where he was coach at the time – which may mean he trusts and believes in me.”
— FC Porto (@FCPorto) June 9, 2017
Despite the departure of Silva, Soares believes former Nantes boss Conceicao can restore the glory days at Porto and end Benfica’s run of four successive league titles.
“I’ve grown up watching Porto be champions, winning national cups, playing European finals – and winning them,” he said. “So the past years have been something new and hard to take. The club is in a transition phase and I’m positive Porto will be back to silverware already next season.”
Porto – without a Primeira Liga title since 2012-13 – finished runner-up to Benfica last term before Nuno Espirito Santos left the club my mutual consent.
“Winning is part of the culture of the club,” said Soares. “The president has guaranteed stability and the right conditions for the club to get back on track. I’m sure Mr Conceicao is the right man to lead Porto to titles and recover the supremacy in Portugal.”
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