Tiago Abiola Delfim Almeida Ilori
Date of birth
Reading Football Club confirmed the signing of Portuguese defender Tiago Ilori from Liverpool for an undisclosed fee in January 2017.
The former Sporting Lisbon centre-back put pen to paper on a three-and-a-half year contract which is set to keep him at Reading until the summer of 2020.
London-born Ilori grew up in the Algarve and joined Sporting’s youth ranks in his early teens, coming through the age divisions to make his first team debut at Estádio José Alvalade in a 3-1 Primeira Liga home win against UD Leiria in November 2011.
A month later, the pacy 6’3” defender was getting his first taste of European football when he played in a UEFA Europa League encounter against Lazio – and his first goal for the club came in a 3-2 win over Gil Vicente FC in only his fourth appearance for the Lions.
In September 2013, Ilori signed for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool before spending loan spells with Granada in La Liga in 2013-14, Bordeaux in Ligue 1 the following season and then Aston Villa in the Premier League last season.
At the end of his stint in France, Ilori represented Portugal’s Under-21 side in the European Championships and he remained unbeaten in the tournament, featuring in draws with Italy and Sweden as well as a 1-0 win over Liam Moore’s England in the Czech Republic. He then went on to feature for Jurgen Klopp’s senior side in the FA Cup – two Third Round meetings with Exeter City and a 2-1 defeat at Upton Park in the 2015/16 season.
An ankle injury spoiled his immediate impact at his new club, but his calm, confident defensive style proved crucial in helping the Royals hold Fulham at bay in a play-off semi-final second leg. He started at Wembley and kept another clean sheet against Huddersfield Town...he has already shown a lot of promise for the future.