FC Goa star Carlos Pena retires from professional football

FC Goa’s Spanish defender Carlos Pena, on Thursday, announced his retirement from professional football. The 36-year-old has been plying his trade in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) with the Gaurs over the last two seasons.

Pena took to Twitter to announce the news, stating, “I would like to share with you the decision to leave behind a precious stage in my life and the announcement of continuing to be linked to this sport from another side. Thanks to all of you who have accompanied me. The best is always yet to come.”

He also thanked the fans of every team he played for, including FC Goa, for their support and encouragement throughout his career.

Pena came up through the famed Barcelona youth academy, representing their reserve sides – Barcelona B and Barcelona C. He would then go on to make a name for himself playing for several clubs in Spain like Recreativo, Real Valladolid, Real Oviedo and Getafe and others. His longest stint was with Spanish Segunda B side Albacete, for whom he made over 100 appearances. Pena also went on to represent the Spanish national football team at youth levels.

Following a stint with Lorca FC in the Segunda B, Pena moved outside his native country of Spain for the first time as he signed for FC Goa ahead of Hero ISL 2018-19. It took the Spaniard a little time to break into former Gaurs head coach Sergio Lobera’s starting XI, but once he did, the technically-gifted defender became a regular fixture in the heart of the Gaurs defence. Pena played a defining role in Goa’s run to the Hero ISL 2018-19 final and their Hero Super Cup 2019 triumph.

The Hero ISL 2019-20 campaign saw the veteran defender help his team clinch the inaugural League Winners Shield by topping the league table and consequently secure a spot in the AFC Champions League group stages – a first for any Indian club. During his stint with FC Goa in the Hero ISL, the Spanish ace made 39 appearances, making a whopping 222 clearances, 55 interceptions and 39 blocks. He had a brilliant passing accuracy of 85.17% and also contributed offensively with two goals and an assist, all of which came in his second season with the club.

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