ANDRE RAMALHO is returning to fc red bull salzburg
The 25-year-old central defender has left Bayer 04 Leverkusen to rejoin the Red Bulls, signing a long-term contract running until 31 May 2022.
99 appearances and four titles
The Brazilian played for Salzburg from January 2011 until summer 2015, when he left for the German Bundesliga.
Ramalho won two league titles and two cups with the Red Bulls (in 2013/14 and 2014/15).
His last match for the Red Bulls came on 3 July 2015 in a cup final win against Austria Vienna (2-0). The 1.82 m-tall defender made 99 appearances (scoring nine goals) in his first spell for FC Red Bull Salzburg.
In Germany, Andre Ramalho made 48 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen and FSV Mainz in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup, Champions League and Europa League.
Director of football Christoph Freund is delighted to have Andre back:
Andre Ramalho first developed with us, so it's like he is coming home. We signed him as a youth player and watched his progress in Germany closely. We wanted him back as we are convinced of his qualities as a footballer and person, and also that he can become a real leader in our team.
EXcLUSIVE INTERVIEW with ANDRE RAMALHO
He has the same beam in his eyes as always, and the whole of Salzburg is happy to have him back. We are talking about someone very special – Andre Ramalho. A player that everyone in Salzburg remembers for the right reasons!
You came to Salzburg at the age of 18 and developed really well here. Since then you've played in the German Bundesliga too. How do you rate the development of footballers here at the Red Bull Academy?
The way FC Red Bull Salzburg deals with young players is super! Young players have the chance to prove themselves here, and opportunities are extremely important for young people - especially footballers. That is the great thing about this club and the philosophy of FC Red Bull Salzburg in general. It makes it easier to progress from the youth teams to the first team.
You lived in Austria for close to 4 1/2 years. You certainly know you way around here. What or who are you most looking forward to seeing again?
To be in Salzburg for me is a bit like coming home. I have a lot of friends here still, and it feels like a second home country. They are all looking forward to me coming back, which is just as well! I'm also looking forward to Kaiserschmarren [shredded pancakes] – I love them! Also the landscape here in Salzburg with the mountains and lakes is really something very special!
What are the most important experiences you have gained in the German Bundesliga and wouldn't have wanted to miss out on?
I am pleased to have played in the German Bundesliga. I had a lot of experiences there. I am also proud of making my first appearance in the Champions League. Of course I hoped to play a bit more there though.
Are your girlfriend and your dog also coming back to us?
Of course! We are all really looking forward to it. We have gone everywhere together so far, and we'll keep on doing that.
You have already made 99 appearances for our club and scored nine goals. What personal aims do you have in Salzburg?
I only have positive memories associated with FC Red Bull Salzburg. I have gained a lot of experience in the German Bundesliga and now I am looking forward to making my 100th appearance here in Salzburg. My aims with the team are to win both Austrian honours, and come as far as we can in the Europa League, even though it won't be easy for sure against Real Sociedad.