FC Goa have bagged the services of Carlos Martinez as their new foreign striker for the upcoming 2023-24 season. In a footballing career spanning 18 years across 13 different clubs, Martinez has notched 123 goals and 8 assists from 357 appearances.

And now he arrives on Goan shores, bringing with him a wealth of experience and footballing quality that FC Goa will look to utilise to the fullest. The 37-year-old is the seventh new addition to the Gaurs’ squad this summer, following the arrivals of Rowllin Borges, Udanta Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Boris Singh, Raynier Fernandes and Paulo Retre.

“I’ve followed FC Goa for a while now, and I’m aware of their achievements in Indian football. To be one of the most successful teams in the league, while following a style of play that I’m quite familiar with, made it easy to form an association with the Club,” Martinez said, after signing on the dotted line for the Men in Orange.

“The attacking style of play and the fighting spirit that the team has consistently shown over the years excite me, and I’m eager to arrive in Goa soon and join up with my teammates. We’ll challenge together for all the trophies, and I want to make the fans of this team proud,” he added.

Commenting on the signing, Ravi Puskur, FC Goa’s Director of Football, said, “Carlos is a striker who comes with a proven pedigree for goalscoring. He’s a striker who likes to link up with his team mates to fashion chances and connect the play, but his primary skills are his ability to find the back of the net. His aerial prowess will also add another dimension to our attack and his all round game will make him a very useful asset to the team.

“Off the pitch as well, Carlos is a great motivator and leadership comes naturally to him and we expect him to lend that experience to the team and those around him. We’re excited by his presence in the dressing room and look forward to having him with us,” he added.

Martinez’s signing a statement of intent from the Gaurs

After making it to the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) playoffs a record six times out of the first seven seasons in the league, FC Goa failed to repeat those heroics in the last two years. With the signing of Carlos Martinez, the Club now looks to put the recent past behind them, as they compete for the top honours in Indian football once again.

Born in Mataro in the province of Barcelona, Martinez began his professional football journey with Badalona CF, where he showcased his immense talent and rose through the ranks from their U19 side to the B team. He went on to represent several lower division clubs, leaving an indelible mark with each team he played for.

In 2012, the striker signed with UE Olot and had a sensational first season, scoring an impressive 31 goals. His remarkable performances included a memorable hat-trick against Arandina CF and five crucial goals in the promotion play-offs, ultimately securing promotion to the Segunda Division B, the third tier of the Spanish football league system.

Martinez’ talent subsequently caught the attention of Villarreal CF and soon afterwards, he joined their Reserves side. He continued to shine, scoring 57 goals during his time with them.

Venturing overseas for the first time in July 2017, the 36-year-old embarked on a new chapter of his career in Japan, signing with Tokyo Verdy in the J2 League, the second division league in the country. After two seasons abroad, he returned to Spain, joining Hercules CF before shifting base to FC Andorra last year.

Throughout his illustrious career, Carlos Martinez has demonstrated exceptional skills and a keen eye for goal. His goal-scoring prowess has earned him a reputation as a formidable striker.

And now FC Goa marks the 14th club in his career and also the second time he has moved away from his home country. His addition to the squad promises to bolster the attacking force and provide an electrifying edge to the club’s playing style.

Rohit Danu makes Bengaluru FC switch

Bengaluru FC, on Friday, announced the signing of winger Rohit Danu on a three-year deal. The 20-year-old, who most recently turned out for Hyderabad FC, is a product of the AIFF Elite Academy, and has represented India at U16, U17, U20 and U23 levels.

“I’m really excited to join Bengaluru FC because it presents an opportunity to challenge myself. This is a club that has been very consistent over the years, and I am eager to learn as much as I can from the senior players here, and try my best to contribute. I have also heard a lot about the fans and the atmosphere at the stadium. I’m looking forward to meeting my new teammates, training with them and stepping out as a BFC player at the Kanteerava,” said Danu.

Danu, who joined the AIFF Elite Academy in 2015 as part of current BFC Reserves Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes’ squad, was picked to represent India at various youth levels. At just 15, he was part of the shortlist for the Indian U17 squad set to take part in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, but missed out through injury.

“We’re delighted to bring Rohit on board. For someone so young, he’s got tremendous experience in the Hero ISL at Hyderabad and representing the National Team at various youth levels. We feel he’s going to be an exciting youngster within our ranks, who’s going to learn the ropes from the experienced players we have at the club. He’s a hungry player who wants to make a bright future with us, and potentially for the Senior National Team in the future,” said Blues’ boss Simon Grayson.

Danu is the fourth signing Bengaluru have made ahead of the new season, with the club having announced the acquisitions of Halicharan Narzary, Vikram Singh and Slavko Damjanovic.

“Rohit is an exciting young player who has played quite a bit of first-team football already, and will be a valuable addition to the squad. I think Bengaluru FC represents the best platform for him to take his game to the next level, and I am sure that our coaches and experienced players will help him achieve his personal targets as well,” said Blues’ Director of Football, Darren Caldeira.

NorthEast United announce first foreign signing

NorthEast United FC on Friday confirmed the signing of Brazilian striker Ibson Melo as the first new foreign signing of the season. The 33-year-old forward has signed a one-year contract with the Highlanders and is set to lead the club’s attacking line in the upcoming 2023-24 season.

Ibson Melo came through the youth academy at Santa Cruz FC in Brazil and later ventured into the Cypriot and Portuguese First Divisions. He then made his mark in Asia, spending four successful seasons in the Thai League 1. Now, Ibson brings his experience and goal-scoring prowess to NorthEast United FC, eager to embark on this new chapter in his career.

Expressing his excitement about joining the club, Ibson said, “I was impressed by the seriousness & the professionalism of the people involved at the club. I believe that there is a very good opportunity to grow together. I hope to be very happy in India with my family and stay for a long time and contribute to the team’s success.”

Head coach Juan Pedro Benali exuded confidence in Ibson’s abilities and believes he will be an asset to the team’s attacking department. “Ibson is a very good player and knows the game very well. He’s fast and he can play in different positions along the front line. He is also clinical and can score from different situations. He is a very experienced player and I believe he will score a lot of goals and help us reach our objectives,” said Benali.

Chennaiyin FC rope in young talented striker Irfan Yadwad

Chennaiyin FC have acquired the services of young talented striker Irfan Yadwad as the club’s sixth signing ahead of the 2023-24 season. The 22-year-old joined the Marina Machans on a multi-year deal after a productive 2022-23 season at Bengaluru United, where he scored 36 goals in 34 games.

The Goa-born striker played a crucial role in Bengaluru United’s run in the I-League 2nd Division where he scored 13 goals. He also struck 15 goals to help his side finish runners up in the BDFA Super Division, Karnataka’s first-tier football division. Irfan also won the Stafford Challenge Cup with Bengaluru United and emerged as top scorer with eight goals.

“To arrive at a club like Chennaiyin FC is a moment of great pride for me and my family. I am looking forward to meeting my new teammates, the staff and our fans. I would also like to thank the club for giving me this opportunity,” Irfan expressed his excitement on joining the club.

FC Goa part company with Iker Guarrotxena 

FC Goa have parted company with Spanish forward Iker Guarrotxena after the forward requested to not return to the club owing to personal reasons. After due consideration, the two parties have mutually decided to part ways.

A valued member of the FC Goa family, Iker made significant contributions towards the Club on and off the field during his stint with the Gaurs last season. 

Earlier on Friday, the Spaniard posted a message on his social media accounts bidding goodbye to the Gaurs.

“I would like to thank all the people around the Club for making last year one of the most successful seasons I’ve ever had. I leave a big and strong family behind, with humble and lovely people. Thank you Goa fans, never stop supporting the team, they will give everything for you. Thank you for all the love I’ve received in the last year,” Iker Guarrotxena said in his parting message.