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Palmeiras snap up ex-Brazil defender Roque Junior

SAO PAULO, September 17 (Campeonato Brasileiro) - Brazilian outfit Palmeiras have signed defender Roque Junior from Qatari side Al-Rayyan until the end of the season.

The 32-year-old Brazilian returns to the Estadio Palestra Italia where he won a raft of honours during a five-year spell between 1995 and 2000.

Palmeiras coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo moved for the former AC Milan and Leeds centre-half after defensive duo Jeci and David were ruled out with long-term injuries.

Luxemburgo said: "It was an emergency signing, considering the problems we have with defenders and the possibilities the market offered. He is an experienced player."

The coach warned, however, that Roque Junior will have to work hard to silence those who doubt both his form and fitness.

"He will have to prove he is able enough to compete in high-level football," Luxemburgo continued. "I am aware of the reports about his condition.

"He is 32 but football is not over for him. Maybe his motivation is lacking. If he rediscovers it, he will be an important player."

Roque Junior will be formally unveiled on Thursday and Luxemburgo expects he will be available for first-team action immediately.

"He will be ready in midweek next week," the coach said. "If we have to play on Wednesday next week, he can make his debut. If not, it will be the following weekend."

Roque Junior has won 48 caps for Brazil and was part of the winning squad at the World Cup in 2002.


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