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Valletta complete foreign line-up with Massaro signing

Goalkeeper Akanji set to join Floriana

Valletta have completed their foreign players' line-up for the 2008-09 season after deciding to take striker Paolo Massaro on board.

Coach Paul Zammit yesterday confirmed to The Times that the Brazilian had left a very good impression during a short trial he had. Massaro will now join the Citizens for the rest of the season.

Massaro, 27, will be the second foreign player to join the Citizens in the January transfer window.

Last weekend, the Malta champions surprised their fans by reaching an agreement with popular Argentine striker Sebastian Monesterolo.

Cameroon forward Priso Doding is the other overseas player on Valletta's books.

The 27-year-old Massaro started his career with Botafogo before joining several other clubs in Brazil. Last season, he was on the books of Parana Clube.

Massaro and Monesterolo, who is expected to arrive in Malta on Sunday, are expected to be included in the Valletta squad travelling to Ancona for a one-day triangular tournament on January 4.

Zammit feels that Valletta are now well-equipped to launch a stronger bid to retain the league title and dismissed any suggestions that he will be seeking to loan out players next month.

"The arrival of Monesterolo and Massaro is a great boost for our team," Zammit said.

"Now, we have a squad of 20 players. Competition for places will be tough but each member has a role to play as we want to do well in all major competitions this season. We don't intend to shorten the squad as the season is still long and we need to have a reliable bench to stay competitive over a long stretch."

Meanwhile, Floriana are moving quickly to replace the departing Serbian goalkeeper Dejan Maksic as they are very close to reaching an agreement with Murphy Akanji.

Dione Borg, the Floriana PRO, said negotiations between the Greens and the Nigerian are at an advanced stage and there are only minor details to be ironed out before the transfer will be finalised.

Akanji, 31, has been looking to join a new club since last summer after parting ways with Sliema Wanderers following a seven-year spell.

He had joined the Blues in 2001 and helped them win various honours, including three league championships.

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