Having built one of the most interesting teams in the history of Leeds United, Victor Orta and Marcelo Bielsa can have much to be proud of. Their outstanding work in recent years has seen the club lift from the mid-table of the second tier to playing a key role in the Premier League. Part of this success has come down to an outstanding hit rate in signings, delivering a team that Leeds fans can be justifiably proud of watching every time they take to the field. However, there is also a strong academy prospect feel to the club, with various players coming through the ranks to represent the fans in the stands.
That being said, one academy player who is not coming back this summer is Ronaldo Vieira. Despite having (arguably) the greatest name for a football prospect ever, the English midfielder has never quite lived up to what was a previously very impressive billing. The 23-year-old left Leeds to go to Sampdoria. However, he has made only 45 appearances in Italy since leaving in 2018, first for Samp and now for Verona on loan.
Five appearances in the 2020-21 season has left the player with little reputation in the Italian game, and now looks set to return to England. Linked with several clubs, Leeds naturally popped up as a name that he would love to return to play for. That said, Leeds are not keen on making the deal stick, per The Athletic beat reporter Phil Hay. Hay, who has various connections at the club and was a regular with the Yorkshire Evening Post for years, has suggested that Vieira will not get the chance to add to his 71 appearances in white.
What has happened to Ronaldo Vieira?
The player left Leeds seemingly with the world at his feet and every possibility of building a world-class career for himself. However, it has failed to work out so far and he now looks likely to return back to England. Sheffield United are being linked, as are other Championship clubs – there is, though, no Premier League interest. When the player departed Elland Road, most assumed he would beat his former club into the top-flight.
A lack of form when in Italy as well as a major lack of any progression, as well as injury, has seen his star wane massively. While he might have taken a new path entirely under Bielsa, fans can only really look on the player in a ‘what if?’ capacity, as opposed to any real certainty that he would have made the grade.
Leeds have moved on from a player who fans were once devastated to see leave. Having failed to live up to the incredible potential highlighted as a youth, Leeds fans will not cry too much over the fact that Vieira will not be returning for a second stint with the club.
It is, though, a shame to see a former academy prospect fail to live up to what looked like a very exciting and promising career. At just 23, though, time is still on his side.