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Reds sign Curaçao international Michaël Maria

PHOTO: FC Twente website

Adelaide United announced the acquisition of Curaçao international, Michaël Maria, on a two-year contract today.

The Reds finalised a deal to purchase the versatile footballer from USL Championship outfit, Charlotte Independence, with Maria contracted to remain in Adelaide until the end of the Hyundai A-League 2020/21 season.

A product of PSV Eindhoven’s academy, Maria spent the first 10 years of his youth football at the esteemed Dutch outfit.

The now 24-year-old later moved to Germany to 2. Bundesliga outfit VfL Bochum, where he continued to hone his versatility as a player who can effectively operate as a defensive midfielder or anywhere on the left flank. 

After more than three years of playing in Germany, Maria returned to Holland in 2018 and joined Eredivisie side FC Twente.

Whilst he was born in the Netherlands, Maria actually represents Curaçao at international level receiving 20 senior caps to date, the most recent of which coming at the Gold Cup 2019 in his nation’s 1-0 Quarter Final loss to the United States. 

Speaking on the decision to undertake a new challenge and join Adelaide, Maria said the opportunity to reconnect with head coach Gertjan Verbeek was too good to resist. 

“It feels really good to be joining Adelaide United,” he said.

“I saw the boys’ game on Tuesday night and I was impressed with what I saw at such an early time in the pre-season. 

“When I heard from Gertjan, he didn’t have to say much at all to convince me because I’ve missed him as my coach and I trust him as a person and his football plan. 

“I’ve worked with Gertjan twice before, first at Bochum and then when I was at FC Twente, and I’ve wanted to be his player again. 

“He’s taught me to be a positive, courageous, and attacking player that loves to have the ball and that’s how I enjoy the game the most. 

“I’m very happy that he and the club wanted me to help improve the squad, so I can’t wait to get started.”

Adelaide United director of football Bruce Djite said Maria’s versatility and technical qualities will undoubtedly benefit the squad ahead of the new season. 

“As our supporters and our players would expect, all the work we are doing in the transfer market is very calculated and strategic,” he said. 

“I have been speaking to Michaël and his management team for a number of weeks and we are very happy to have secured his services for the next two seasons.

“Michaël’s ability to be deployed anywhere on the left side of the park, but also as a defensive midfielder, makes him very valuable to us. 

“Some of Michaël’s greatest strengths are his many offensive attributes and his willingness to get forward, which suits the footballing philosophy and style of play Gertjan is working to implement.

“Having worked with Michaël before, Gertjan knows the qualities he possesses and how Michaël will complement our current group.” 

Maria, who will wear the number five shirt, becomes Verbeek’s second signing and 21st contracted player ahead of the 2019/20 season and will begin pre-season training immediately. 

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Jack grew up in Gawler, South Australia – just 45 minutes north of Adelaide – and has a passion for all things football and soccer. Jack has worked in the media for more than four years, and hosts his own sports show on Barossa radio station BBBfm. He previously played football for Elizabeth, South Gawler, Gawler Central and at junior level with Central District, and is a die-hard Port Adelaide fan.