The Portuguese defender, who has put pen to paper on a three-year deal, is the fourth addition to Pedro Caixinha’s squad, joining fellow centre-back Bruno Alves, on loan midfielder Dalcio and former Aberdeen skipper Ryan Jack.
The Rangers boss has wasted little time in overhauling the squad he inherited from Mark Warburton and also has Mexicans Carlos Pena and Eduardo Herrera waiting in the wings. The midfielder and striker must wait on the outcome of an Scottish Football Association hearing which will determine whether they will be granted work permits, but provided all goes smoothly they will follow Cardoso through the door at Ibrox.
The 23-year-old has been signed for an undisclosed fee from Vitoria Setubal and has already gone a long way to winning the support of the Rangers fans by claiming he has joined “the best club in Scotland” and vowing to help them back to the top of the Premiership standings.
“I have to adapt to the new country and the new way of living. I am going to be successful though,” he said, speaking to Rangers TV. “I will do my best to help my team-mates win. A club as big as Rangers has to win.
“I met Caixinha for the first time in the airport and I spoke to him a lot. I like him and what he had to say. He is the right person to put Rangers where it belongs, which is first place. I am very happy to be here. For me, this is the best club in Scotland and I will do my best to help us make history together.”
A former under-21 international, Cardoso also enjoyed a spell with Benfica and is confident that the Govan club’s Portuguese contingent can deliver glory and help undermine the dominance of city rivals Celtic, who swept all in front of them in Scotland this term to win the treble and complete the domestic season undefeated.
As well as a Portuguese manager, Cardosa will join his more experienced countryman Alves in the heart of the Rangers rearguard. It is a partnership he is relishing. “He is an amazing player and is one of the best defenders from my country. I know with him I will learn a lot.”
Caixinha believes in Cardoso’s ability to develop quickly and is already predicting full international honours for his latest recruit.
“Everyone describes him as having potential to be one of the centre-halves of the future with the national team,” said the Rangers boss. “We believe in him. He can perform on the right or left, which is good in a centre-half. We try to organise centre-halves by thinking about them as a double and we have four very good centre-halves who can perform together or independently.
“Fabio is 23, so having an experienced player around like Bruno Alves is good – he is a player whose one main characteristic is leadership – so Fabio will feel comfortable and grow and learn from him.”