Ivan Gonzalez: My aim is to keep FC Goa at the top

FC Goa’s latest acquisition Ivan Gonzalez is determined to keep the Gaurs at the top of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL). The Gaurs won the inaugural League Winners Shield after finishing on top of the standings in the league stage last season and Gonzalez has taken it upon himself to ensure that Goa continue to remain on top.

“I know Goa is the defending League Winners (Shield holders) and I will be replacing players who have done really well for the club over the past few seasons. However, personal challenges are very important to me and this is one of them – to keep Goa at the top. That was the aim from the very moment I started talking with the club,” Gonzalez said in an interview with the official FC Goa website.

He continued, “I am very excited to play for a club as important as FC Goa. I have spoken with the coach and he has always been someone who is very firm in his beliefs. He expressed his desire for me to be part of this exciting project in Goa. Having played under him, knowing the style of football and the players getting in, I had no doubts that I wanted in.”

The 30-year-old defender has the experience of being a captain as well having led his former side Cultural Leonesa. He hopes to lead by example for Goa and help the team improve their performances, “I’m one who likes to lead by example. I like to set the tone. I like to bring energy onto the field. Being the captain, you have to think that you need to do something more than just perform yourself. You have to play in such a way or be assertive enough in other aspects that the whole team plays well.”

When asked what attracted him to Goa, the centre-back spoke highly about the club’s ‘dynamic game’ which complements his qualities. “It was the style of football they played (that attracted me). I saw several FC Goa matches and frankly, I was surprised. The team plays a very dynamic game with some really talented players. And the mindset is to pass, to build up and always attack.”

“This fits in perfectly with my qualities. I am a fast defender, I like to anticipate and steal balls from forwards. I feel comfortable playing the ball from behind. For the FC Goa fans, I would say that you can expect a player who doesn’t shy away from any challenge on the field and brings a lot of energy in each play,” he added.

After finishing on top of the Hero ISL 2019-20 standings, FC Goa became the first Indian team to directly qualify for the AFC Champions League group stage. While looking ahead to the club’s first experience in Asia’s premier continental competition, Gonzalez admitted that AFC Champions League participation was one of the biggest factors that attracted him to the Gaurs. 

“Knowing that they are the first Indian team to qualify for the group stages of the AFC Champions League is a great responsibility and I love that. It was one of the biggest factors as to why I joined the club. As I said, I love challenges, and this is going to be a good one,” he said.

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