LIKE father, like son. Bruno Alves, it seems, was born to be a defender.

The Rangers family have taken the Portuguese to their hearts, but he owes his physicality and mentality to the dad that shaped his career and the city that formed his outlook on life.

At 35, Alves has seen and done it all in the game yet he is still inspiring team-mates and impressing supporters after accepting a new challenge at Ibrox this season.

It is a long way from Póvoa de Varzim on Portugal’s northern coast. It was there where Alves, under the guidance of his father Washington Geraldo Dias Alves, started to become the man and the player that he is today.

His impact on and off the field for Rangers has been immediate as the fans in the stand have found a new hero and those alongside him have a figure to look up to. It is certainly an imposing one.

Alves’ technical ability is seemingly at odds with his physical frame. He is a towering centre-half that is comfortable with the ball at his feet, and that can score free-kicks.

It is his commanding presence on the ground, his determination in the air, that have made him one of the finest defenders of his generation, though. By the looks of things, it was written in the stars.

“This came from my father,” Alves said of his approach to the game. “He was also a defender, in Brazil. He was one of the five most dangerous defenders in Brazil.

“He also was a centre back. All of my career I liked to play like this and many persons that I know, they told me that I came to the right club and the right country because this is the kind of football that I like.”

With his path into the game clear, Alves has been destined for the top from a young age. His older brother Geraldo currently plays with Astra Giurgiu, while 26-year-old Julio is a midfielder with Rio Ave.

Washington Alves may not be a household name on these shores, but his reputation and his career have set his sons on the road to success.

“My father played for Flamengo and also for Bahia, also Coritiba in the south of Brazil,” Alves said.

“But he was famous for this. There is a famous story - even in Bahia there is a big rivalry between the teams.

“And they have a striker who kicks everybody there, they bring my father there to fight against him, and there was a big fight! I like to play hard but I also like to play fair.”

Alves has a CV that instantly demands respect from team-mates and opponents alike. You would certainly rather have him with you than him be against you.

His approach is firm but fair, although the line has been crossed on occasion. Rangers have yet to see that side of Alves, however, as he has settled into Scottish football and strolled through his first few games in Light Blue.

The Portuguese has tasted success throughout his career as domestic honours have been won at Porto, Zenit and Fenerbahce and international glory was earned at Euro 2016.

He is a man that knows what he wants, a player that knows how to win and can handle the pressure and the expectations. He is the defender that Rangers have needed for some time.

“I come from the North of Portugal and my father came from Brazil to play football in my home town,” Alves said.

“He came from Brazil and played there. It is a special place because it is a fishermans' city and they bring a bit of this difficult life to the pitch.

“We always have a lot of good players and talented players from my city and they have always have this attitude, it is something you cannot explain.

“I come from there. So I learned from my father but also from my city, with this culture they have there.

“Also at Porto, at that time it was also like that. We played all the time very hard, fight against all the difficulties.

“Because Porto back then was so small, but it grew up so much. Benfica and Sporting were bigger than Porto at the time with that attitude and behaviour but Porto is what it is because of this kind of behaviour and attitude.”

It is 17 years since Alves set out on his journey in the game with Porto and only time will tell if Ibrox is to be his last stop.

The move to bring him from Cagliairi this summer was undoubtedly a coup for boss Pedro Caixinha and the defender is one of the highest-profile players to ply their trade in Scotland in recent years.

The attraction from Rangers’ point of view is clear, yet the feelings of excitement were mutual.

“It’s always about learning,” he said. “All the countries I’ve played in, I’ve learned something. I expect to learn more and have more experience. This is what I can take for my life.

“If one day I want to coach, I can be better for all the experiences I have from different kinds of countries and different styles of games.”

The acquisition of Alves was the first bit of business that Caixinha completed during the close season but supporters had to wait to see him in action as he returned to the international fold at the Confederations Cup.

Since making his debut against Marseille, he has led by example in the wins over Sheffield Wednesday, Motherwell and Dunfermline.

The adulation from the stands is appreciated and the efforts will be reciprocated.

“I learned this from my father - when you give your best, you will always receive good things,” he said. “This is what I expect here, just to give my best, do a good job and win. We need to create this habit of winning.”