By Alex Stevens
Patrick Vieira has sent his best wishes to his namesake and new Leeds signing Ronaldo Vieira.
The 17-year-old midfielder signed his first professional contract, a two-year deal, at the start of this month just eight months after graduating from the i2i academy.
Arsenal legend Vieira, who is now the manager of New York City, sister club of Manchester City, came across his namesake while doing some coaching,
York-based i2i Academy sent out this tweet earlier in the week, demonstrating how the elder Vieira had signed a shirt for the Leeds teenager.
— i2i Soccer Academy (@Thei2iSA) May 12, 2016
The younger Vieria made his Leeds debut last Saturday as he came off the bench in the team’s final Championship match of the season, a 1-1 draw against Preston.
The 17-year-old Portuguese left his home country in 2011 to move to York and joined the i2i Academy after previously being on the books of Benfica.
Leeds manager Steve Evans has revealed how Vieira rejected the opportunity to have the name of one of the world’s best players emblazoned on his shirt.
Vieira ignored the chance to have the name of Real Madrid megastar Cristiano Ronaldo on the back of his jersey and instead chose to stick with his surname, which is shared with the Gunners all-time great.
“He’s a really nice young man. I’ve met his father on a couple of occasions and they’re really level headed,” Evans told the Leeds website. “He had the clear option to put Ronaldo or Vieira on the back of his shirt, and you know with current status how big Ronaldo is.
“But he didn’t. He said, ‘my name’s Vieira’. It was really classy of that young man to say that. But what two options he had, Ronaldo or Vieira.
“I’m not going to make him out what he’s not. He’s in there on merit.”
In other Leeds news, Evans has admitted he does not expect to be at the club next season.