And so the “will he, won’t he” saga ends as Jefte finally makes his dream move to Glasgow Rangers from Fluminense on a four year deal.

The defender spent the previous season on loan at APOEL, where he signed his first professional contract with the new Cypriot champions. His parent club believed his “party boy” lifestyle in Brazil would have hindered his progress.

Jefte’s loan move to APOEL was unexpected due to his limited experience, but the idea of a 19-year-old Brazilian fullback marauding down the left side excited fans of a club entering its fifth season without a title.

Despite being an unknown quantity, APOEL’s leadership trusted the judgment of agent Alessandro Da Silva, who had been collaborating with the club since 2014. Da Silva had previously brought players like Carlao, Natel, Caju, Marquinhos, and many other Brazilians to the club, strengthening his relationship with APOEL’s decision-makers.

Jefte, who had previously been awarded U17 Player of the Year in Brazil, caught the attention of Spanish side Real Sociedad, although they ultimately decided not to make an offer. With a one-year loan agreed upon, Fluminense quickly extended Jefte’s contract to 2026, despite the APOEL deal including a purchase option.

Sa Pinto’s faith in Jefte was evident as the defender featured in eighteen out of APOEL’s opening twenty games of the league campaign, missing one through suspension (yellow card accumulation) and being benched in the 3-0 victory over Omonoia in December. Three goals, one being the winner against AEL and four assists drew the attention of Glasgow Rangers as rumours of a January move to Scotland gathered pace.

During a December episode of the Orange Legacy podcast, APOEL President Prodromos Petrides stated the club has already received offers for Jefte to conclude the summer once they had purchased the player from Fluminense. More conflicting information came to light as some publications claimed APOEL had the option to purchase Jefte but were unable to afford him due to their crippling debts, while others reported the Brazilian had already completed a permanent deal with APOEL. To make matters worse, Jefte went AWOL, missing games against Nea Salamina and Karmiotissa.

Despite APOEL’s attempts to diffuse the situation, informing the press that it was “an ongoing internal matter that is being handled”, a tweet from Fabrizio Romano announcing Rangers’ interest in Jefte fuelled the fire and created a buzz across social media with various Gers fans enquiring about the player’s ability and mentality.

To APOEL’s relief, Jefte remained at the club as the January transfer window closed; although rumours of a summer move to Rangers didn’t end. Fortunately for Jefte, he didn’t experience the type of backlash other players would have for such behaviour, although this is likely due to him only being on loan as opposed to having a long term deal.

Jefte returned for the 2-2 draw at home to AEK, coming off the bench for the final ten minutes. With the slate wiped clean, Jefte played the full 90 minutes in APOEL’s final three games of the regular season and the first six play-off matches.

A plot twist in the title race occurred as APOEL’s shock 2-0 home defeat against a depleted Anorthosis put AEK back in the hunt. It wasn’t the loss that concerned Sa Pinto, but the statuesque defending for the second goal where both full-backs – Susic and Jefte – failed to deal with Anorthosis’ threat from wide areas. With five games left of the season, all derbies, Sa Pinto felt it was necessary to select Chebake and Susic at full back due to their experience in high pressure situations.

Jefte started on the bench for the remainder of the season, making cameo appearances in the next four games. His inexperience may have played a part in Sa Pinto’s decision to keep him on the bench for the full 90 minutes of the title decider against AEK.  The match ended in a draw, which was enough to hand APOEL their first championship in five years.

While APOEL’s title celebrations lasted several days, questions over Jefte’s future continued. Vice President Nikos Kougialis spoke to Sport FM on the 18th May and appeared to admit defeat in his team’s effort to sign the player permanently:

“We have told Fluminense that we want to keep him & are willing to pay the release clause. It is up to the player now if he wants to stay. We have contacted him but he hasn’t responded”.

This was the final mention of Jefte’s APOEL future in the media as Rangers re entered the fold. Three days after Kougialis’ radio appearance, the This Is Mappa X account posted an update on Jefte’s move to Rangers that was echoed by Fabrizio Romano a day later.



Jefte will always be remembered by APOEL fans for his crucial contributions during their dramatic title-winning campaign. His goal against AEL Limassol and two assists in the 3-0 victory over AEK Larnaca were standout moments. However, his defensive lapses led to several points being dropped. A clumsy challenge from Jefte resulted in a penalty that secured Aris’ win in November. Additionally, ball watching in another match against Aris allowed Mihali Mayambela to score at the back post in a 2-1 defeat. A week later, a nervy performance in the 1-0 home defeat to rivals Omonoia raised doubts about his defensive discipline. Omonoia’s on-loan winger Saidou Alioum caused Jefte problems with his pace and trickery, even preventing Jefte’s overlaps with disciplined positioning. A Cruyff turn by the Cameroonian left Jefte flat-footed, leading to a cross that resulted in a penalty. This, along with his poor defensive display against Anorthosis, provided enough evidence for Sa Pinto to question Jefte’s reliability at a critical stage of the season.

Putting aside his defensive issues, Jefte’s direct style has certainly impressed Rangers’ scouting department. He embodies the traits of a classic Brazilian defender: direct, quick, excellent at crossing, and eager to attack full-backs. However, his upper body strength and tenacity add an extra dimension to his game. Additionally, Jefte’s ability to adapt to Cypriot culture is commendable, considering he moved to the island as a teenager without knowing any English. His absence in January hinted at immaturity and raised questions about his commitment, but since returning, Jefte has demonstrated professionalism both on and off the pitch. Despite Cyprus’ vibrant nightlife, Jefte has not been seen at nightclubs or bars, nor has he been involved in any alcohol-fueled parties, contrary to the “party boy” image he had in Brazil.

Rangers have certainly found a rough diamond, and offering him a four-year contract shows the club’s confidence in Jefte’s potential to become a key player for their future.