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Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Newcastle seal Viana deal
Hugo Viana in action for Sporting Lisbon
Viana is one of world football's brightest stars
Newcastle United have completed the 8.5m signing of Portugal Under-21 international Hugo Viana from Sporting Lisbon.

The Magpies had to fight off last-minute bids from Liverpool and Celta Vigo to secure the services of Viana.

But the 19-year-old star has signed a five-year deal after undergoing a medical on Tyneside on Wednesday afternoon.

He has now become Britain's most expensive teenager, breaking the record Coventry established when they paid Wolves 6m for Robbie Keane in August 1999.


It is an honour to come to Newcastle and this magnificent stadium
Hugo Viana

Viana said on Friday that although he knows he is taking a huge step, he is confident that he won't disappoint Magpies fans.

He said: "I chose Newcastle because this is a big European club.

"They will be in the Champions League next season - and the Premier League is also very attractive.

"I am very happy to come here - very happy, and very motivated. It is an honour to come to Newcastle and this magnificent stadium.

"It is a big step for a young player to play in a new country, but I am ready."

"And of course everyone at Sporting knows about Sir Bobby Robson. He is one of the great coaches, and great gentlemen, of the game," he added.

Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd said that late bids from Celta Vigo and Liverpool nearly scuppered the deal.

"We are delighted to have secured the services of Hugo for the next five seasons," said chairman Freddy Shepherd.


The general consensus of opinion is that he's the best young player in the world at the moment
Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd

"He is a very exciting attack minded player who I am sure will be a very good addition to our squad.

"The general consensus of opinion is that he's the best young player in the world at the moment.

"He's a left-sided midfielder, just the player Bobby Robson wants to spearhead our Champions League bid for next season.

"But to tell you the truth, we had a few scary moments. Sporting Lisbon had already agreed a fee with Celta Vigo and then Liverpool actually moved in on Tuesday.

"However, Douglas Hall and myself were determined to get our man and we kept the Sporting people up through the night."

The teenager - full name Hugo Miguel Ferreira Viana - is one of the hottest properties in world football.

He was Portugal's best player during the recent Under-21 European Championship.

And his form earned him a call-up to the senior squad for the World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.

Viana's signing would be the first in what is expected to be a busy summer for Robson, who is keen to strengthen his squad before the first Champions League qualifier on 14 August.

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