Happy Birthday Leo!
Our forward Leo Jaba turns 22 today, and PAOK FC would like to wish him many years of health, happiness and successes on both a personal and professional level.
Leonardo Rodrigues Lima, as he is known by his full name, was born on August 2 1998 in Sao Paolo in Brazil. He caught the football bug from his father, who had dreamed of becoming a professional footballer, but did not manage it.
After a short period at the youth academies of Sao Paolo, Leo joined Corinthians at age 11 in 2009. His progress there was fast from the word go, and he immediately won a place in the Brazilian national youth teams. Indeed, in his first six games for the Under-15 Selecao he scored right goals, alerting scouts from all over the world.
In 2016 he was elevated to Corinthians’ first team squad an he made two appearances in the top flight. In his second season he managed to get more playing time, gaining the respect and trust of Tite, the coach of the Brazilian national team. He played 16 times and scored his first goal in the top flight.
A lot of clubs from Europe were interested in signing him, such as Bordeaux, Roma, Inter and later on Arsenal, but it was Akhmat Grozny who convinced him to make the trip to Europe.
In Chechnya, Jaba immediately found himself given a role in the team, playing on the left side of the attack, from where he scored three goals in 25 games.
In parallel, he played for the Braail Under-20 side in the South American championships. In total, he has represented his country at that level 11 times.
In the summer of 2018 PAOK moved quickly to sign him amid tough competition for the young Brazilian’s signature.
In his first season with the Dikefalos tou Vorra, Jaba celebrated a domestic league and cup double, making 39 appearances, scoring seven goals and contributing 11 assists.
Last season the Brazilian winger ensured some rotten luck, as he only managed to play nine games before injury cut his season short.