Football - Balde keen to impress at Celtic

Portuguese striker Amido Balde checked into Celtic after penning a four-year deal then declared he hopes to emulate compatriot Jorge Cadete and become a Hoops hero.

PA Sport
Football - Balde keen to impress at Celtic

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Neil Lennon has made his first signing of the summer

The 22-year-old frontman moves to Parkhead as part of a reported £2million deal. The 6ft 4in player started his career at Sporting Lisbon, the same club former Portugal forward Cadete left to join Tommy Burns' team back in 1996.

One of the so-called 'Three Amigos' alongside Pierre van Hooijdonk and Paolo Di Canio, he earned himself iconic status with the Celtic support as he struck 38 goals in just 48 games for the Glasgow giants. Now Portugal Under-20 international Balde hopes to achieve similar success in Scotland.

He said: "I know Jorge Cadete from Sporting Lisbon because I played at the same club growing up. He was a very big striker in Portugal and a good one too. I would like to follow him and become a hero here and do even better if possible."

Balde arrived in Glasgow on Monday but only signed his contract on Thursday evening after four days of protracted negotiations.

He is manager Neil Lennon's first summer signing but insisted he was hoping to partner - and not replace - Garry Hooper after Celtic rejected a £4million bid from Barclays Premier League new boys Hull this week.

"I am here because I am 22 years old to learn from Gary, to follow him and take his example," he said. "We don't have the same similarities but he is a good striker. My style is more like Emmanuel Adebayor.

"The Celtic fans can expect to see me scoring goals and setting up a few as well."

Balde failed to break into the first team at Sporting and was despatched on loan to lower-league outfits in Portugal and Spain before spending a season with Cercle Brugge in Belgium.

He was released by his Lisbon employers last summer but went on to enjoy the most fruitful spell of his career last term as he struck nine times in 27 games for Vitoria Guimaraes.

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