When Glasgow Rangers signed defender Fabio Cardoso from Vitoria Setubal in the summer of 2017, many would have hoped that was going to be a key part of the Ibrox club’s defence for the next few years.
Then-manager Pedro Caixinha lavished praise on the centre-back, saying: “He is a player who everyone describes as having big potential to be one of the centre-halves of the future with the Portuguese national team.”
Despite this admiration for the defender, it turned out to be a disastrous spell for him in Glasgow as he featured just 18 times in total, and only once after January 2018.
Cardoso suffered a horrible facial injury which didn’t help his cause either, but when the Light Blues announced Steven Gerrard as their new manager in May 2018, the player soon left on a free transfer and returned to his homeland.
He thrived back in Portugal, making 97 appearances for Santa Clara and scoring 11 goals in total before he joined European heavyweights Porto in 2021, marking a stunning turnaround from his failed adventure in Glasgow.
It’s safe to say that Gerrard had a nightmare over the player, with the 28-year-old impressing in the league for Porto last season, averaging a solid rating of 6.9/10 as per SofaScore while ranking third in the squad for clearances per game (2.3) and fourth for pass success rate (92%), proving that he has what it takes to perform at the highest level.
This season, he has taken his performances to another dimension, starring in the Champions League with an average rating of 7.03 across three group stage matches, helping his team to keep two clean sheets while winning 59% of his duels.
Cardoso is now rated at €3.7m (£3.2m), and this value will surely continue to increase with every excellent performance.
With Giovanni van Bronckhorst going through a defensive injury crisis at the moment, what he would do to have someone like Cardoso marshalling his backline?
Maybe he was the right player for the club, but he simply arrived at the wrong time, and the Ibrox side are paying for that now.