Indian Super League (ISL) outfit FC Goa have acquired the services of Irish footballer Carl McHugh. The 30-year-old ha signed a two-year contract that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2024-25 season.

A two-time ISL cup, McHugh brings with him a wealth of experience in Indian football, thereby sustaining the pattern that FC Goa have followed of late in terms of new signings.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to represent this Club and I will be doing everything in my power to help make it successful,” Carl McHugh said, after signing on the dotted line for FC Goa.

“When I became aware of FC Goa’s interest, it was something I was immediately interested in as well. I think the Club has made some very good signings, and obviously, the appointment of coach Manolo Marquez was important.

“I’ve played against FC Goa a lot in recent years and it has always been a very difficult fixture. Fatorda is always a tough venue to come and get a result as an opposition player – it will be great to play there for FC Goa now,” he further added.

Ravi Puskur, the Club’s Director of Football, also expressed his elation on the latest acquisition, saying, “Carl is a fantastic new addition to our squad. He’s a player who adds much-needed energy and quality to our midfield and is versatile as well.

“His competitive nature and winning mentality will add significant value to our dressing room and we foresee him becoming one of the leaders within the group. I’m sure the fans of Goa will love Carl for his competitive nature and winning mentality.”

A versatile footballer with a winning pedigree

Acquiring Carl McHugh as part of their setup could be extremely beneficial for FC Goa, as evidenced by the player’s four-year stint in the Hero ISL so far with ATK and Mohun Bagan Super Giant. Known for his versatility, the Irishman can ply his trade from anywhere in the midfield, apart from occasionally playing as a defender as well.

In 2019-20 when he first arrived at Indian shores, McHugh started in all of ATK’s first six games of the season, before an injury ruled him out of action for the remainder of the season. ATK, meanwhile, went on to win the ISL trophy.

He then returned to the league the following year, to join MBSG In the three seasons since, McHugh made 60 appearances for them in the ISL, leading them to the playoffs on all three occasions.

The recently concluded 2022-23 season saw the 30-year-old lift the ISL trophy for the second time in his career. He made a total of 21 appearances across the whole campaign, registering three goals and an assist.

On the defensive front, McHugh averaged 4.38 tackles, 0.95 interceptions and 1.81 clearances per game, playing an important role in Mohun Bagan Super Giant finishing as the second-best team in the league stage in terms of fewest goals conceded.

Cristian Battocchio joins Chennaiyin FC

Chennaiyin FC have announced the signing of midfielder Cristian Battocchio through their social media handles on Monday.

The midfielder has joined up with the rest of the squad in Guwahati and could be in contention to make their squad ahead of the Durand Cup quarter-final.

“I’m very happy. I was waiting for the day that I come to India. I feel really good because the club and the coach wanted me here. The coach spoke to me and showed me that he had a plan for me here. I spoke to a lot of people and they had only good things to say about this club so I’m very happy to be here”, Argentinia-born Battocchio told the Chennaiyin FC media team.

The midfielder kickstarted his career in Europe with Serie A outfit Udinese in 2009. He was named captain of their youth side before being called up to the first team where he also made three appearances in the UEFA Europa League.

“We’re delighted to bring Cristian Battocchio to the club. We’ve certainly been chasing him for a long time because he had a number of offers. But he understands what we are as a club and everything that is great about this club. We’re delighted to have a quality player who has had a fantastic career and we’re excited to have him put on the Chennaiyin shirt and make the fans proud,” Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle said on the 31-year-old’s acquisition.

In 2012, Battocchio moved to Watford where he made 66 appearances in the Championship and FA Cup among other competitions. He also had seven goals and five assists in his time there and won “Watford Goal of the Season” in 2012-13.
Born in Rosario he also made 131 appearances for French side, Stade Brestois 29. In the 2018-19 season, he helped the team finish second in Ligue 2 earning promotion to the French first division (Ligue 1).

In 2019 he also scored a hat-trick for the club which was Brest’s first top-flight hat-trick in almost 29 years.
The 31-year-old has plied his trade in Japan, Greece, Mexico and Israel. He has 11 appearances in the UEFA Europa League for Israeli outfit, Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Battocchio also has also represented the Italian National Football Team at youth level making 18 appearances for their U20 and U21 sides.

NorthEast United FC sign Palestine defender Yaser Hamed

NorthEast United have completed their foreign roster for the 2023-24 season with the signing of Palestine defender Yaser Hamed.

Born in Spain to a Palestinian father and a Basque mother, Hamed is a product of the renowned Athletic Bilbao Academy, where he honed his skills from the age of 10.

His journey through the ranks of Spanish football has seen him represent various Basque sides, including CD Santurtzi, SD Leioa, and Club Portugalete. The 25-year-old moved out of Spain in January last year and went on to play for Al Masry SC in Egypt and Al-Rayyan in Qatar. Earlier this year, he featured for Al Qadsia SC in Kuwait, winning the Kuwait Federation Cup.

On the international front, Hamed has established himself as a regular with the Palestine national team since making his debut in 2019. He ensured the Lions of Canaan maintained a 100% winning record along with three clean sheets in the qualification stage to secure a berth in the AFC Asian Cup 2023.

Sharing his reason for joining the Highlanders, Hamed said, “I'm thrilled to join NorthEast United FC because of their persistent interest in me. This club and its project, led by Juan Pedro Benali, are the perfect fit for my aspirations in football. I will work very hard every day to do my best for the club."

Head Coach Benali expressed his enthusiasm about Hamed's signing, saying, “He is a good defender with the unique ability to play comfortably with both feet. Despite his young age, he brings a wealth of experience to the team. We believe he will make significant contributions and help bolster our squad. Yaser has a bright present and an even brighter future."

Sajid Dhot leaves Chennaiyin FC

The Marina Machans have also announced the departure of their defender, Mohammad Sajid Dhot.

Dhot joined Chennaiyin FC during the winter transfer last season, but despite joining midway through the season, he immediately proved to be a solid addition to their backline. The Punjab-born player showcased his defensive abilities, which led to him earning a new two-year contract prior to the 2022-23 season.

However, the defender had to be sidelined from the team due to a muscle injury towards the business end of the 2021-22 season, and he failed to make a significant impact in the following season as well, only managing to make three appearances.

In total, Dhot has made nine appearances for Chennaiyin FC and has scored one goal for them. 

Joe Zoherliana, Mohamed Irshad among three players to leave NorthEast United FC

NorthEast United FC later on Tuesday announced that they have parted company with defender Joe Zoherliana alongside midfielders Mohammed Irshad and Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha.

All three players were signed by NorthEast United FC in 2021. Zoherliana made 21 appearances for NorthEast United FC in the last two ISL seasons.

Irshad impressed in his debut season with NorthEast United FC, netting two goals across 14 games during the ISL 2021-22 season. He played 12 matches for the side the following season.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old midfielder Lalchhanchhuaha made his ISL debut last season. He played nine games for NorthEast United FC, clocking 365 minutes on the pitch.