Toronto FC signs Brazilian striker to contract


(BDCi) — Toronto FC made their first big splash of the offseason on Friday, signing promising Brazilian striker Gilberto as the fifth designated player in franchise history.

Gilberto,24, comes to Toronto from Brazilian side Portuguesa after establishing himself as one of the best young attackers in his native country, where he was the sixth-leading scorer in the 2013 Brazilian Serie A.

“Gilberto is a great DP addition to our roster,” Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko in a statement. “He’s young, incredibly talented and a proven goalscorer at every level he’s played. The Brazilian Serie A is one of the best leagues in the world and acquiring a top striker from that league is a testament to the faith Gilberto has in what we are doing at our club.”

Gilberto becomes the second DP currently on the Toronto roster, joining Argentine midfielder Matias Laba to create an intriguing young, South American core as TFC looks to end a seven-year run of playoff exile in 2014.

Reportedly pursued by clubs in Spain, Italy and Germany, Gilberto becomes Toronto’s best option up top along with relative club newcomer Bright Dike, traded from Portland in September.

“I’m coming to a very good side,” Gilberto told the Toronto Star through a translator. “I also appreciate the quality of life here. And I want to open a new market in Major League Soccer for Brazilians. The primary job is to win titles.”