Atletico name Luis Garcia as marquee player, Habas as coach
Former Spanish international and ex-Liverpool and ex-Barcelona man Luis García was today announced as the marquee player of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) club Atlético de Kolkata. Former Bolivia manager and widely experienced Spaniard, Antonio López Habas, was appointed as head coach.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched the team jersey and logo on the occasion in the presence of the owners, former India players and the media. The jersey is inspired by the Atlético de Madrid colours while the logo depicts the Royal Bengal Tiger alongside an array of five stars that represent the five co-owners - Sourav Ganguly, Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka, Utsav Parekh, and Atlético Madrid.
Miguel Ángel, a coach from the Atlético Madrid academy, and Jose Barreto, the Brazilian footballer who is a household name in Kolkata, were named as assistant coaches
“In Bengal, the sport is in our blood. I assure that my government will provide all assistance that is needed. I hope we win the ISL. This is our team,” the CM said.
A prolific scorer known for his left-footed shots, García has amassed a total of 12 goals for Atlético Madrid, eight for Barcelona and 30 for Liverpool. He was part of the Liverpool squad that won the historic UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan at Istanbul in 2005, when the reds came back from 0-3 down to triumph on penalties.
Shortly after the announcement, the 36-year-old winger and midfielder, who retired in 2013, posted a video sharing his excitement on being part of the club: “Namashkar Kolkata, I am very happy to become an integral part of Atlético de Kolkata in the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League. I hope to bring with me a bag full of experience and skills. I also look forward to playing with the Indian players and come out on top with Atlético de Kolkata.”
He even tweeted, saying, “I'm very excited to share with you my new challenge, I've decided to join Atlético de Kolkata...” and “Thank you very much for all your messages. I seek @LFC and @Atleti supporters join us in @AtletiKolkata at the Indian Super League.”
Habas, 57, was previously associated with the Bolivian national team first as assistant and then as head coach at two Copa America tournaments. He has also managed teams in Spain, Thailand and South Africa. He played as a defender for Sevilla, Atlético Madrid and various other clubs.