Pinto did not actually appear for the latter in the Primeira Liga, featuring as an unused substitute in two games. His only competitive appearance for the first team took place on 4 February 2009, as he came on as an 88th-minute substitute for Andrés Madrid in a 1–4 away loss against Sporting Clube de Portugal for the season's Taça da Liga.
Pinto was consecutively loaned for the duration of his contract, to Gil Vicente FC, Vitória F.C. and S.C. Covilhã. He made his first top division appearance with the second club, playing five minutes in a 0–2 defeat at precisely Porto on 13 December 2009.
In the summer of 2011, Pinto was bought by Rio Ave F.C. but never represented the team, being immediately loaned to U.D. Leiria also in the top level. He started regularly for the side, as the campaign ended in relegation.
Pinto spent the next few years in eastern Europe, first with CFR Cluj in Romania. His first competitive match took place on 14 July 2012, as he featured the full 120 minutes in a penalty shootout loss to FC Dinamo București for the Supercupa României (2–2 in regulation time); his debut in Liga I occurred seven days later, and he again started in a 1–1 home draw against CS Gaz Metan Mediaș.
Pinto made his debut in the UEFA Champions League on 1 August 2012, playing the entirety of the 1–0 group stage win over FC Slovan Liberec. He played in all group stage games, with the team finishing third and moving to the UEFA Europa League.