RICARDINHO says the chance to work with Pep Clotet again and fulfil a lifelong ambition to play in England made it an easy decision to fly 15 hours to sign for Oxford United.

The 32-year-old travelled overnight from Sao Paulo and went straight from Heathrow Airport to sign a one-year contract yesterday.

In doing so he became the first Brazilian to join the U’s, while ending their summer-long hunt for a specialist left back.

Although he has spent the last three seasons playing in Azerbaijan with Gabala, it was his previous club which proved key.

Ricardinho, whose full name is Ricardo Ferreira da Silva, spent five seasons at Malmo.

The Swedish spell included a season where Clotet was a coach.

That personal link made it much easier for the move, which only emerged as a possibility on Sunday, to take place.

“Of course Pep helped me a lot to come here because he knows me and it makes it easy,” Ricardinho said.

“If it was another coach I don’t know if I could come here.

“But also I had a dream to play in England and enjoy a nice club.

“Even in the second, third, fourth division (in England) they have good players and a good atmosphere.”

And the former Coritiba trainee, who will travel north with the squad today, but is not being considered for selection in the season opener against Oldham tomorrow, has been quick to get up to speed on his new club.

He said: “I’ve read many things in the last few days to understand the history.

“Of course it’s not good enough yet, but I will have time to learn it in the future.”

United have tried a variety of options at left back this summer, but they will be hoping Ricardinho provides the answer this season.

While new to English football, he believes the time spent in Sweden and Azerbaijan will have served as good preparation.

He said: “I think I have grown up as a player in the last few years. In Brazil even if you are a full back we just want to attack and that’s all we think about.

“When I moved to Sweden I learned much more about tactical positions and waiting for the right moment to attack and be strong as a defender.

“Even in Azerbaijan the level is less than England but I think physically it’s almost the same.

“I’m so happy to be here.”