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Soccer-Hanover new signing Franca comes up short

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BERLIN, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Hanover 96 were feeling a little short-changed with new signing Franca as the Brazilian does not quite measure up to the towering midfielder the Bundesliga club had expected.

The 21-year-old left Brazilian first-division club Coritiba after signing a deal to 2016 but after arriving in Germany, coach Mirko Slomka discovered Franca was far shorter than the 1.90m man he had been expecting.

In fact he is nine centimetres less than what the club's sports director Joerg Schmadtke had talked about, Slomka said.

"What can I say, I was totally surprised," Slomka told Bild newspaper on Tuesday after he realised the Brazilian was even shorter than the 1.87 m-tall coach himself and ordered an assistant to measure him.

Schmadtke had said at the time of the transfer on Jan 13 that Franca, "with his 1.90 metres and 88kg frame, has the physical attributes which he uses to great effect in games.

"He is a robust kind of player who, in my opinion, will go a long way with us."

With the transfer already signed and sealed, Hanover can only hope that size does not matter. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)