sport

Boro confirm Brazilian link-up

Middlesbrough have formed an official link-up with Brazilian side Ituano - where Teesside legend Juninho is president.

Ituano's sporting director Tiago Cruz has already spent time with Boro, and now an agreement is officially in place.

As part of the deal, Boro have already agreed to take 19-year-old pair Marcos Rhoden and Rafael Peireira on-loan until the end of the season.

Juninho, who sent Carlos Rodrigo Correa and Eduardo Favretto for trials with Boro last summer, will also act as Boro's presence in South America - helping to pick up any talent.

"Because of the connection with Juninho it's something we think could be a benefit, as we don't have an existing presence in South America and have no scouts there at all," Boro boss Tony Mowbray told the club's website.

"If there are players there with European passports who meet our budget and criteria, why would we not utilise that connection with Juninho's club? Hopefully it will bear fruit over the years."