Today it was announced that German champions, VfL Wolfsburg had completed their double-signing of midfield pair, Cláudia Neto and Kristine Minde from Damallsvenskan side Linköping.
An intelligent and spatially aware central midfielder, Neto is one of the most recognised Portuguese players in the women’s game, the only female centurion the Selecção das Quinas has ever seen, Neto juggles her league commitments with captaining her national team.
After six years in Spain, the Portimão native set herself a new challenge in the Damallsvenskan with Linköping where she carved out a starting role for herself and went on to become one of the most respected midfielders in Sweden.
Speaking on the move, Neto spoke of being “very happy” to become a Wolf, aware that the change is “a big step” for her but one she’s looking forward to taking at “one of the best clubs in the world.”
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Having joined Linköping for the 2014 season like Neto, Bergenser Minde has rarely missed a league minute for the Swedish champions, fast becoming a mainstay in Martin Sjögren’s team.
Consistently utilised under new coach, Kim Björkegren over this past season too, Minde has popped up all over the pitch, switching from defensive to midfield to attacking duty where necessary and looked at home in every role.
Making the move from Toppserien side, Arna-Bjørnar after the 2013 season, LFC became Minde’s second senior team, the Norwegian international never having played outside of Scandinavia but remains, “grateful for the opportunity.” Saying that, “even as a child” she had “dreamed of playing in Germany,” and the move will see her take to the pitch for a club she “admires very much.”
Over the last three seasons in Sweden both Neto and Minde have shown their calibre, mastering their respective roles on the pitch, scooping two Svenska Cupen wins (2013–14, 2014–15) as well and becoming back-to-back league champions (2016, 2017).
The pair join Wolfsburg on a free and have both signed a one-and-a-half-year deal to take them to the end of the 2019 season. VfL Sports Director and former coach, Ralf Kellermann has expressed his happiness that the Lower Saxony team could sign both players, saying they “will certainly help us achieve our ambitious goals” for the season. Kellermann also stated that both could link up with the team as early as the 1st of December so they’ll be well integrated into the team before long.
Both Neto and Minde will be cup-tied for the UEFA Women’s Champions League when it resumes in March.