Federico Gallego on LFL show: I feel at home in India

As Juan Ferrando prepares his team for the business end of the season, ATK Mohun Bagan displayed their combative attitude as the Mariners lost to a solitary goal against the league leaders Mumbai City FC in the league fixture of matchweek 15 in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23.

Positioned fourth in the league standings, ATK Mohun Bagan are aiming to finish their league season by collecting as many points as possible. The Mariners sit two points behind the third-placed Kerala Blasters FC. Juan Fernando's side have been unfortunate with injuries to key players such as Florentin Pogba, Joni Kauko, Manvir Singh, and more. The Juan Ferrando-led side have signed former NorthEast United star midfielder Federico Gallego in the winter transfer window to strengthen the team’s midfield as Ferrando prepares his team to conclude the season on a positive and winning note.

Watch the full LFL show here

Federico Gallego featured in the latest LFL show alongside host Suyash, as he talked about his time with NorthEast United FC, his appreciation for the Highlander Brigade, his adversity with a career threatening injury, signing for ATK Mohun Bagan, and a lot more.

The 32-year-old spent four seasons with NorthEast United in the Hero ISL with the first stint on loan in the 2018-19 season followed by a permanent move ahead of the 2019-20 season. Gallego has made 46 appearances for the Highlanders and has scored nine goals while registering 12 assists to his name. The midfielder expressed about his special time with the Highlanders.

“I’m very happy for them, always. I really love them and I know the love they have for me. So I think we created a bond with each other because I’ve always been sincere with them, and I’ve always given my best in the pitch for them. They always make me feel at home and that’s the most important thing.” Gallego expressed.

Forming a vital part of the Guwahati-based side with his creativity and vision in the midfield, Gallego instantly clicked with the fans. The 32-year-old expressed his love and respect for the Highlander Brigade, NorthEast United FC's beloved supporters group.

“For me, it was a very good time, they (The Highlander Brigade) are top class because they are always very kind to me and all of the players. Even after a bad result, they are there to support us, they message you and they are there in the away matches, always have our backs. They are at the top. I have a lot of appreciation for them and I really love them.” he added.

Gallego suffered his first major blow in the second leg of the playoff match against Bengaluru FC during the 2018-19 season. The Uruguayan midfielder suffered a broken foot after a collision with the Blues' striker Miku. He revealed about his injury phase and how he brought himself out of that situation to get back on the pitch.

“I knew from the moment the collision happened that my leg was gone. It was very difficult. In my mind I was scared, I was thinking about my future but after a couple of days, you realise that a lot of players go through the same situation and you have to pull yourself up and be positive. You have to go forward because this is our job. You have to recover and then train again,” Gallego added.

“The club was always there from the first minute. The club, the management and the staff, always supported me. I’m very thankful to them and the owners. They told me from the first minute, Hey! Take it easy. Come back and we are here for you. You need yourself to pull out of such situations but if you can put in the effort, you can do it," he said.

The midfielder talked about his first impression of new head coach, Juan Ferrando, and how the coach wants to improve his players. Gallego believes ATK Mohun Bagan can do much better than in previous matches.

“He’s (Juan Ferrando) a good guy, a good coach. I've been here for one week, I haven’t spent a lot of time with him but I can see on the pitch that he’s obsessed with his work. He works a lot and wants to improve the players, he gives the tools to players to work on the pitch. I hope at the end of the season, we do good things here because the team that we have is very strong and we can do much better than before, he said.”

ATK Mohun Bagan have collected seven victories, two draws, and four losses in 13 matches so far. The Mariners have lost key players to injuries and Federico Gallego was brought in to provide the steel and creativity in the midfield. Gallego reiterated that he understands the expectation and the massive history of the club as he shared his views on his new club.

“I knew from before how ATK Mohun Bagan is in Indian Football and how big the club is. I know which targets the club has from the beginning and you need to win every game and you have that pressure. For me, it’s an amazing feeling because we are here to win and you play football to win. Sometimes you need that pressure to feel the expectations and try to give your best,” he concluded.

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