The timing was right.
That was primary reason Evander shared when he first addressed local media as a Portland Timber on Tuesday afternoon. The 24-year-old Brazilian joined the Timbers from Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland for a club-record transfer fee, with the move finally officially announced on Monday.
“The opportunity came in a good moment for both the club and me," said Evander. "The expectation from everybody was for me to stay in Europe, but I think going to MLS will help me grow.”
In addition to personal growth, Evander discussed the importance of the move for both him and his family, experiencing a new league and short-term goals in a 16-minute press conference. What does he bring on the field? He scored 50 goals and contributed 38 assists during his four-year stint in Denmark, for starters. He has played in some of the biggest European club competitions, such as the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. Off the field, he comes to Portland with plenty of objectives.
“My dreams, my wishes and ambitions match with Portland’s as well," said Evander. "I think it’s a big opportunity for my career to grow.”
The talented midfielder made it clear that he's coming to MLS to win trophies, not just pass time until making a return to Europe.
“People can say a lot of Brazilians come to MLS just for money or an easy life, but I’m going to show the opposite way," said Evander. "I’m going to show you have to work hard in MLS as well, it’s a big league with a lot of big players.”
Evander would love to be named MLS MVP someday –– 2022 MVP Hany Mukhtar arrived in MLS from Danish Superliga side Brøndby, after all –– but he doesn't plan to pursue individual accolades over team success, something he emphasized several times during the press conference.
“My main objective with the club is to take the club to the top again," said Evander. "To me, winning the MLS is most important. If that happens and I become an MVP player I would be very proud, but my main objective is to win titles.”
Halfway through his Zoom call with reporters, Evander admitted he has yet to watch a Timbers game in real-time. He has more closely followed the club through score updates and highlights since he learned of the club's interest, but Central European Standard Time isn't the most conducive to watching a game that kicks off at 7 p.m. PT.
That means Evander will watch his first live Timbers game when he takes the field in green and gold for the first time in late February, and he's excited to kick off the next part of his soccer career.
“Portland is the next step for me for my career," said Evander. "I’m 100% sure that (this move) will make me grow and we’ll have a lot of things to achieve together.”