Brazilian Cristiano to leave Tarxien at end of season

Tarxien Rainbows forward Cristiano is expected to return to Australian football next season.

Tarxien Rainbows forward Cristiano is expected to return to Australian football next season.

Brazilian Cristiano will leave Tarxien Rainbows at the end of the season.

Cristiano joined Tarxien on a two-year deal last summer but family issues have reportedly prompted the former NAC Breda striker to rescind the final year of his contract.

Sources told The Times that Cristiano’s family want to return to Australia after failing to settle here. Before moving to Tarxien last summer, Cristiano had a two-year spell with A League club Adelaide United.

Cristiano has already agreed the terms of his release but has pledged to stay with the team until the end of the season. Tarxien, whose 3-0 defeat to Birkirkara on Sunday left them in fifth place and virtually out of the Europa League race, will play their final league game on the weekend of May 6-8 against Valletta.

However, the Rainbows, who have already confirmed coach Noel Coleiro for next season, will be hoping to extend their season until May 22, the date of the U*Bet FA Trophy final.

Tarxien have reached the semi-finals for the second year running after beating Vittoriosa Stars 4-2 in the quarter-finals.

News of Cristiano’s premature exit will cast doub over the future of Sergio who also moved to Tarxien last summer after being lured to the club by his former Roda JC team-mate.

Like Cristiano, Sergio has had an up-and-down first season in Maltese football but produced one of the highlights of the campaign after scoring a superb individual goal in Tarxien’s 2-0 win over Floriana in the first round.

It is believed that Sergio is keen to pursue his career outside Malta but has indicated his readiness to stay with the club beyond the end of the season.

Apart from Cristiano and Sergio, Tarxien have another three Bra-zilian players on their books.

Daniel Mariano Bueno has another two years left on his contract while Everton and Ricardo Costa are reportedly eager to sign a new deal with the Rainbows.

Tarxien have earned a reputation for acquiring strong players from Brazil since gaining promotion to the Premier three years ago. Besides their current Brazilian quintet, Tarxien were the first Maltese club to sign Denni, now with Valletta, in January 2009.

Anderson Ribeiro also enjoyed a positive one-year stint with the Rainbows last season before the Brazilian striker returned to Ukraine.

Encouraged by their track record when it comes to signing foreigners, Tarxien are believed to be at the forefront of efforts aimed at garnering support within the Malta FA to raise the quota of non-Maltese players to five.

At present, top-flight clubs can have up to four non-homegrown players on the pitch at any given time. The Premier League will be made up of 12 teams next season.

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