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By Fitzgerald Cecilio
St. Petersburg, Russia
Brazilian striker Hulk has signed a five-year deal with Zenit St. Petersburg of Russia after completing a transfer from Porto for a reported $62.9 million fee.
The 26-year-old Brazilian scored 54 goals in 103 league matches for Porto after joining the club in 2008 after playing for Tokyo Verdy of Japan.
Zenit announced on its website that Hulk, whose real name is Givanildo Vieira de Souza, will wear No. 29 for the team and will play either as center forward or as a right or left winger.
Hulk got his nickname from his father in honor of the famous comic book character. He was born on July 25, 1986, in the city of Campina Grande, in the state of Paraíba, Brazil.
Hulk started his football career at the age of 16 for Vitória, then moved in February 2005, to the Japanese club Kawasaki Frontale on loan, in the second Japanese league where Hulk scored 25 goals in 38 matches.
He then moved to Tokyo Verdy, where he scored another 44 goals in 55 matches before transferring to Porto in July, 2008. He won the Portuguese league title three times in Porto, and also won the Portuguese Cup and Super Cup, as well the Europa League title.
Hulk debuted for the Brazilian national team on November 14th, 2009, and played 14 matches for the national side, scoring five goals. He also took part in this summer`s Olympic Games in London, winning a silver medal and scoring in the final against Mexico.
Chelsea also expressed interest with Hulk but cannot shell out the amount asked by Porto for his services.
Zenit Shells Out $62.9M Transfer Fee to Porto for Hulk