'There were a lot of tears!' - Pinto grateful to Canaries for chance to say a proper goodbye
Over three years as a Norwich City player came to an emotional end for Ivo Pinto, with the popular right-back so grateful to be involved in the club's promotion celebrations.
The 29-year-old only made three Championship appearances for the Canaries this season, losing his place to Max Aarons in September, but continued to train with the eventual champions. But after 94 games and three goals Pinto has been told his contract will not be renewed this summer and was able to say farewell to almost 20,000 fans at Carrow Road during the celebration match in honour of Wes Hoolahan and Russell Martin yesterday afternoon.
“It was really nice, the club is back in the Premier League, where it deserves to be and where it should be, I'm very happy for that,” the speedy Portuguese full-back said.
“Unfortunately, football as in life, some things come to an end, this is my end here but I'm really happy that the club is in the Premier League, I think all of the lads have had a fantastic season.
He added: “There were a lot of tears! It was really emotional, I've never hid that I love the fans, they were amazing to me and of course it was emotional and I was really grateful to them.”
Pinto received a standing ovation when he was replaced during the second half of the charity fund-raiser and was also involved in City's title celebrations at Aston Villa on Sunday and the promotion parade in Norwich on Monday. Of those celebrations, he continued: “Fantastic, when you see some of the young lads celebrating you see that they have already achieved something.
“Max is 19 years old, Jamal (Lewis) and Ben Godfrey are 21, you look and think they did something unbelievable and remarkable, one of the best seasons in the history of the club.”
Pinto was signed by Alex Neil from Dynamo Zagreb for around £2m in January 2016 and isn't sure where he will be heading yet this summer.
“I have already talked with some people and said I just want the season to be over and now it is, I have meetings and dinners,” he explained.
“Now everything is done I'll make my decision but out of respect to the club I wanted to wait until the season is done and now I will go on. I'm sorted, so everything is okay.”