Former Barcelona player Ronaldinho is set to miss the rest of the Premier Futsal tournament in India, as he had to go back to Brazil on Monday.
Ronaldinho, who was playing for the Goa outfit, will miss his side’s home leg of the tournament, with the second phase moves to the coastal state. The Brazilian had mesmerised fans in Chennai, scoring five goals against Paul Scholes’ Bengaluru on Sunday.
However, the Brazilian World Cup winner had to leave for his native land, as he has been selected as the ambassador for the upcoming Rio Olympics.
While Premier Futsal confirmed Ronaldinho’s departure via their official Twitter account, they also named former Brazil World Cup winning captain Cafu as a replacement for the former Barcelona and AC Milan man.
Cafu will be replacing him as @10Ronaldinho has been selected as the brand ambassador for Rio Olympics 2016. #PremierFutsal #NaamHaiFutsal
— Premier Futsal (@PremierFutsalHQ) July 18, 2016
Ronaldinho himself sent out a video message on Premier Futsal’s official account. Here is the tweet.
Goa 5s’ @10Ronaldinho has expressed his regret at having to leave #PremierFutsal ahead of the Goa leg #NaamHaiFutsal pic.twitter.com/LcrY3XbdPn
— Premier Futsal (@PremierFutsalHQ) July 18, 2016
Here is a translation for Ronaldinho’s message, which was in Portuguese: “I would like to thank all the people involved with #PremierFutsal. It has been a pleasure to be with you all. I thank you all for all the love and support I’m leaving with. Best of Luck!”
FC Goa sign Jofre Mateu, Robin Singh
FC Goa have started their recruitment drive by securing the services of former Barcelona academy product Jofre Mateu, ahead of the third season of the Indian Super League (ISL), according to Goal.com.
Jofre has already spent one season with the Gaurs, helping the Goan franchise reach the final of the ISL last time round, while winning the competition in its first season with Atletico de Kolkata.
The Spaniard has been one of the main driving forces behind the Goan attack last season, with manager Zico opting to play him in an advanced midfield position. He scored four goals last season, with the last one coming in the final against Chennaiyin, which FC Goa eventually lost.
FC Goa have also announced the signing of India international striker Robin Singh, in an attempt to strengthen their strike force. The 26-year-old striker had a poor outing in last year’s ISL with the Delhi Dynamos, managing to score just four goals from 13 appearances.
We are proud to announce the signing of talismanic striker @robin_singh_23 for @IndSuperLeague 3 #TheBeastturnsGaur pic.twitter.com/I54swCiL0h
— FC Goa (@FCGoaOfficial) July 17, 2016
However, his side Delhi Dynamos did manage to make it to the semifinals of the tournament for the first time, which they lost out to FC Goa in the end.
Delhi Dynamos sign Manipur duo
While they lost out on the services of Robin Singh, the Delhi Dynamos made a couple of signings of their own. The Lions signed the Manipuri duo of Milan Singh and Soram Poirei.
Soram Poirei is a goalkeeper, who started out his professional career at Pune FC, and later went on to play for the likes of Shillong Lajong, Pailan Arrows, and even Bengaluru FC. Last season, he played seven matches for Aizawl FC in the I-League.
Milan Singh and Soram Poirei have joined The Pride! #RoarWithTheLions Full story here: https://t.co/cTOkvazdKS pic.twitter.com/noSTcuHhTW
— Delhi Dynamos FC (@DelhiDynamos) July 18, 2016
Meanwhile, Milan Singh is a midfielder, who like Soram, has also played for Pailan Arrows and Shillong Lajong. Milan took part in the inaugural ISL season, making five appearances for North East United FC. Last season, he played for DSK Shivajians, who finished bottom of the I-League.
“I am very pleased to have Soram and Milan on my team. These two players are really talented and I look forward to working with them,” Delhi Dynamos manager Gianluca Zambrotta was quoted as saying in a press release. “Their names were discussed over the last couple of days among all of us, including club president Prashant Agarwal and the backroom staff. We believe that they fit perfectly in our plan for the upcoming season.”
Apart from their aptitude on the pitch, the capture of Soram and Milan allows the Delhi Dynamos to tap into the large number of football fans from the North-Eastern region of the country.
Darryl Duffy joins Mohun Bagan camp
Scottish striker Darryl Duffy has arrived in Kolkata to join Mohun Bagan, ahead of the Green and Maroons’ pre-season training. The 32-year-old is all set to participate in the upcoming season for the Mariners, as he will be engaged in the fight for the Calcutta Football League, the Federation Cup, and the I-League.
@Mohun_BaganAC new recruit @Duffers9 at Dum Dum Airport today morning. pic.twitter.com/N4kE3fhaTf
— Mohun Bagan (@Mohun_BaganAC) July 18, 2016
Mohun Bagan have further strengthened their squad with the signing of Duffy, who ended up as the joint second highest top scorer in last season’s I-League, with 11 goals. Incidentally, his Mohun Bagan teammate Cornell Glen was tied with him on the second spot in the top scorer’s charts.
The signing of Duffy makes the Bagan forwards lineup formidable indeed. They now have three top quality strikers — Glen, Duffy, and Jeje Lalpekhlua — vying for two first team spots, in the 4-4-2 system that Sanjoy Sen prefers to play.
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