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 By Paul Murphy

Johor Darul Ta'zim sign Brazilian defender Bruno Soares

Bruno Soares celeb pre JDT move
Bruno Soares, right, is joining JDT from Hapoel Tel Aviv ahead of their MSL title defence.

Malaysia Super League champions Johor Darul Ta'zim have added Brazilian defender Bruno Soares to their squad as they prepare to defend their domestic title after being snubbed at the 2017 National Football Awards.

Soares signs from Israeli side Hapoel Tel Aviv, but much of his career was spent in Germany where he played in Bundesliga 2 for MSV Duisburg and Fortuna Dusseldorf. He has also recently played for Kairat in the Kazakhstan Premier League.

The 29-year-old may well partner fellow Brazilian Marcos Antonio in the centre of defence as the Southern Tigers attempt to maintain their domestic dominance while making more of an impression in the continental competitions.

After reaching the final playoff round in the AFC Champions League (ACL) in 2017, an exit to Philippines side Ceres-Negros in the AFC Cup zonal semifinal was a disappointment.

JDT must beat Thailand's Muang Thong United away from home to reach the final playoff round of the ACL again, and the likelihood is that they will compete in the AFC Cup, given the difficult route to the ACL group stages.

Soares announced his arrival on his Instagram account with the message, "Proud to be JDT family from now on."

Despite another dominant season in 2017, in which they took their fourth successive title and won their first Malaysia Cup, JDT received just one award in Friday's National Football Awards ceremony, while FA Cup winners Kedah took nine of the 23 prizes.

Even JDT's one award - Mohammed Ghaddar's prize for Top Foreign scorer - was not one that required any judgement.

The club hit out at the snub by posting a message on their Facebook page, highlighting that it took a Singaporean sports writer to question the lack of recognition for JDT.

"It's a shame when only the outsiders noticed the achievements and strength that JDT have, but not Malaysians," the Facebook message said.

The champions will hope that the capture of Soares will help them to do their talking on the pitch again next year and prove that their players are worthy of prizes.

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