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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 23, 2007

Spurs sign Benfica defender Ricardo Rocha

Tottenham's new signing Ricardo Rocha believes he possesses the toughness Martin Jol has called for from his players this season.

Rocha, 28, has signed from Benfica for an undisclosed fee to bolster Jol's defence after injury to captain Ledley King and Calum Davenport's departure to West Ham.

Dutchman Jol has called for his players to toughen up this season as Spurs look to build on their fifth-placed Barclays Premiership finish last May, and Rocha believes his game suits the English way.

'I play hard but also fair,' he said. 'I just want to win all the balls and stop my opponents from scoring goals. I will just always do my best.'

The Portugal international was at Benfica for more than four years after signing in 2002 from Braga, and he won the league and cup while in Lisbon.

Rocha was not in Portugal's squad for last summer's World Cup in Germany, although he has Champions League experience and has faced Manchester United in the last two seasons.

'It is very important for me because I have for a long time dreamed of playing in the Premiership and playing for a big, big club like Tottenham is a dream come true,' said Rocha.

'It is too soon to know what really to expect, I will work very hard, but the most important thing is the team and the results of the team. It is most important to win whether with me in the side or another player.

'Tottenham is a fantastic club which is historic in England. They are one of the best teams who always try to win by playing good football and has a great cup tradition.'

Rocha could have the chance of silverware this season, with Spurs still in the UEFA Cup and FA Cup.

They are also in the last four of the Carling Cup and face Arsenal on Wednesday in the first of two legs to reach the final.

Jol's new signing will not take part against the Gunners but will make his first trip to White Hart Lane and watch from the stands.

Michael Dawson and Anthony Gardner, as the only two fit out-and-out centre-backs, will play against Arsenal, with Ledley King a possibility to return at the weekend.

Sporting director Damien Comolli believes Rocha also offers cover at right-back for Pascal Chimbonda.

He told the club's website: 'Ricardo is an accomplished defender who gives us further options in defence as he can play both in the centre and on the right.

'He brings considerable experience to Tottenham having played at the highest level in European competition and is also a current Portuguese international.

'Ricardo has shown a great desire to come to White Hart Lane and will no doubt prove to be a valuable addition to the squad at this important time.'

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