Former Rangers defender Fabio Cardoso is at the centre of a war of words between two Portuguese clubs.

The 25-year-old is currently captain of Primeira Liga outfit Santa Clara, whom he joined after leaving Ibrox in 2018.

The Portuguese didn’t last long at Ibrox. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

On Wednesday night, he played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 cup defeat to Porto and was booked for a late challenge on Portuguese wonder kid Romario Baro.

The opposition were left incensed by the tackle which the Scottish Sun reports has left the 19-year-old with a suspected broken ankle. Cardoso was also involved in a scuffle in the tunnel after the game.

“The tackle by Fabio Cardoso was very serious,” said Porto’s Director of Communication, Francisco Marqueson, as quoted by the Scottish Sun. “It was typical of the extreme aggressiveness displayed by Santa Clara throughout the game and they were fortunate they were aided by the benevolence of the referee.”

It’s unusual for a club to speak out against the actions of an individual opposition player, and Santa Clara’s manager Joao Henriques was quick to defend his man.

Cardoso captaining Santa Clara against Sporting Lisbon. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

Former Rangers defender Cardoso hailed by manager

“Fabio Cardoso is a warrior and a fantastic professional,” he said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun. “He would never, under any circumstances, deliberately inflict injury.”

“He is one of the best Portuguese central defenders of this new generation. He is our captain and we count on him.”


Cardoso endured a spell to forget in Scotland, falling out of favour and featuring just three times after Christmas during his solitary season with the Gers.

Yet, as we can see by these comments, he’s enhanced his reputation somewhat since leaving. Last season, he made 30 appearances and scored five times for the top-flight newbies, helping them to a more than respectable tenth-placed finish [Soccerbase].

The central defender celebrates scoring away at Benfica. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

Henriques clearly rates his skipper, but the tackle doesn’t look great. He flies in at full tilt and misses the ball completely, clattering into Baro, causing the youngster to be stretchered off.

There have been higher challenges, but the ex-Ger was fortunate to escape a red.

Cardoso has since taken to Twitter to apologise to the youngster, not that that seems to have appeased Rangers’ Europa League Group G rivals.

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