Odisha sign Spain’s Hernandez; Mumbai rope in striker Angulo - GulfToday

Odisha sign Spain’s Hernandez; Mumbai rope in striker Angulo


Odisha further bolstered their squad with the signing of Javi Hernandez (left) after roping in Victor Mongil a few days ago. File

Odisha FC on Friday announced the signing of Spanish attacking midfielder Javi Hernandez ahead of the eighth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL).

Hernandez has an experience of playing 37 matches in the ISL and even scored two goals in the final of the 2019-20 season against Chennaiyin FC. He has also represented the Spanish U-19 national team.

After his youth career at CDF Pizarrales, Salamanca and Real Madrid, the Spaniard made his senior debut for Real Madrid B. After playing for various Spanish clubs, the 32-year-old footballer joined Romanian professional club ACS Poli Timisoara.

Hernandez also played professional football in Poland and Azerbaijan before signing for ATK in 2019. After winning the title with the Kolkata-based side, he was retained by the newly-formed ATK Mohun Bagan in 2020.

“Javi is a great addition to the squad, he is going to give us work in the midfield, and balance to the team. The most important thing is that even playing in midfield, he is a player who can score goals due to his physical capabilities and his good technique,” said OFC Head Coach Kiko Ramirez.

“He is a good player to play different styles of football, and he has a very good shot. From set pieces, he is a great kicker, both for direct scoring and for strategy plays. He is loved in the teams where he has been for his work ethic, for his enthusiasm, and for his character.” After joining Odisha FC, Hernandez said he was excited to join Odisha FC and very happy to continue playing in India.

“I am looking forward to meeting my teammates and we will definitely work hard and play well to make sure that we have a wonderful season ahead. I want to make the Odisha FC fans proud,” he said.

Speaking about the new signing, OFC Club president Raj Athwal said: “We are delighted to welcome Javi Hernandez to the Odisha family. In Javi, we have added another highly-rated player, who has experience of winning the ISL, to our squad.” Meanwhile, reigning Indian Super League (ISL) champions Mumbai City FC on Friday signed 37-year-old Spanish striker Igor Angulo on a one-year contract.

The experienced striker was one of the vital cogs for fellow ISL club FC Goa, helping them to the playoffs in the 2020/21 season. He scored 14 goals in 21 games to bag the Golden Boot award in his debut ISL campaign.

Before coming to India, Angulo plied his trade for four seasons in the Polish Ekstraklasa, Poland’s top-flight football league with Gornik Zabrze. He emerged among the top two goal scorers in three consecutive seasons and had also won the Golden Boot in the 2018/19 season, having scored 24 goals. During his time in Poland, Angulo played 154 matches and scored 88 goals.

The Spanish striker, who started his career with Athletic Bilbao in Spain, has experience of playing in several other countries like France, Cyprus and Greece.

“It’s an honour to join the champions Mumbai City and to be a part of a club that has grand ambitions and wants to fight for titles. I have spent one season in India so far and my experience of the ISL has been incredible.

But my focus remains on what I set out to do everywhere I’ve played -- I want to win the league.

“We have a massive season ahead of us. It will be an honour to defend both our trophies and represent India in the AFC Champions League and I’m ready for the challenge,” he said.

Head coach, Sergio Lobera said, “Igor is a veteran campaigner and a class act on and off the field. We’ve seen his goalscoring prowess in the previous seasons and how dangerous he can be for the opposition.

“He is someone who will bring a lot of valuable experience along with his skill and we are confident he can help us and bring the best out of the players playing alongside him.”


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