AGONA Profile: Rodrigo Soares, PAOK’s, livewire right-back
PAOK completed their first signing of the summer by securing the services of free agent Rodrigo Soares. The AGONA Profile takes a closer look at his career to date.
The exciting 26-year-old right-back signed a three-year deal on a free transfer from Desportivo das Aves after his contract with the Portuguese club expired at the end of this past season. The Brazilian defender initially held negotiations with AEK Athens but he decided to join rivals PAOK and make the move to Thessaloniki.
Inconsistent start to senior career
Soares began his senior career at 20-years-old playing for Uniao Sao Joao in Brazil back in 2012, where he made 14 appearances and scored two goals in his debut senior season. The following season saw Soares make a switch to EC Santo Andre, where he struggled to break through, making just one appearance for the club. After a disappointing stint with EC Santo Andre, Soares signed with Gremio Esportivo Anapolis for the 2014/15 season where he finished with 14 appearances and one goal.
A ticket to European football
Following three years in Brazil at three different clubs, the talented right-back moved abroad to chase his dream of playing football in Europe. He was signed by FC Porto and played for their B team for two seasons from 2015 to 2017. Across those two seasons, he made 25 appearances, before being sent on loan to top-flight Portuguese club Chaves, where he made his debut in the Primeira Liga. He made a total of seven appearances for Chaves before looking for more opportunity in the top flight of Portuguese football.
Career-best form for Soares at Desportivo das Aves
Soares took time to make the correct decision in searching for a club as he looked for a destination to play regular first-team football in the Portuguese top flight. He eventually joined Desportivo das Aves in the 2017/18 season.
In his first season for the club, Soares scored one goal and provided two assists from 33 encounters while playing an instrumental role in the club’s first ever silverware, winning the Portuguese Cup.
In the 2018/19 campaign, he had his breakout season, playing 41 matches, scoring four goals, and delivering nine assists. Soares’ excellent form was rewarded as he earned numerous awards including being named the best full-back in the Primeira Liga.
His career-best season saw him attract plenty of attention from rival clubs as his contract with Desportivo das Aves expired at the conclusion of this past season, including FC Porto, Sporting Lisbon, and AEK Athens.
PAOK signed the livewire fullback in order to bolster their defensive stocks while taking into account first-choice right-back, Leo Matos, is coming towards the end of his career. In addition, PAOK are looking for competition within their squad for each position in order to further improve the team going forward.