Bengaluru FC sign Pratik Chaudhari and Lalthuammawia Ralte

Bengaluru FC announced the signings of experienced defender Pratik Chaudhari and goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte on Wednesday. Both players signed a two-year deal with the Blues and became the club’s first signings of the season ahead of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21.

Chaudhari, who made 17 appearances for Mumbai City FC last season and has previously represented Kerala Blasters FC, Delhi Dynamos FC and Jamshedpur FC, spoke of his excitement after joining Bengaluru.

“It’s always a nice feeling when you find out that one of the best clubs in the country is interested in you and I’m extremely glad that this deal has gone through. I hope to contribute to the team in any way that I can, and the opportunity to play among some of the best Indian and foreign players in the league is something I am excited about,” Chaudhari said.

The versatile defender was joined by custodian Ralte as Bengaluru’s first signings of the season. No stranger to the Blues having been a part of a title-winning campaign with them, the 27-year-old shot-stopper was on the Bengaluru side that made it to the 2016 AFC Cup final and has also represented NorthEast United, FC Goa and Kerala Blasters in the Hero ISL.

“I only have fond memories of my time here in Bengaluru and returning to the club for a third stint is something that I am very happy about. Apart from the fact that I will be in a team that is hungry to win, I have a bond with the city and the fans and that is something that I look forward to returning to,” Ralte, who was part of the Blues’ squad in Hero ISL 2017-18, said after signing.

Bengaluru’s CEO Mandar Tamhane spoke of the importance behind adding experienced players like Chaudhari and Ralte to the squad. “A big part of the success we have enjoyed at BFC is because of the right mix of experience and youth that we have within our squad. Keeping our best young performers while bringing in players like Pratik and Mawia, who know the league and the system we follow will keep us in good stead going into what will be a very challenging season,” he said.

After handing new deals to foreigners Juanan Gonzalez, Erik Paartalu and Dimas Delgado as well as up and coming prospects like Leon Augustin, Edmund Lalrindika, Parag Srivas, Ajay Chhetri, Namgyal Bhutia and Naorem Roshan Singh, Chaudhari and Ralte mark Bengaluru’s first incomings ahead of Hero ISL 2020-21.

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