Marcelo Pereira: Really fantastic to see the evolution of Hero ISL

Odisha FC strengthened their attack significantly with the addition of star forward Marcelo Pereira to their squad on a one-year contract ahead of the seventh edition of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL). The Brazilian attacker, who will be returning to Indian shores for a fifth season, heaped praise on the Hero ISL and commended the efforts taken for the development of domestic talents.

“I am happy to be a part of this process. It is really fantastic to see the evolution of the Hero ISL. According to me, the Indian players are getting better every season, improving skills, becoming more tactical and stronger in fitness levels. ISL is helping with a good quality of organization and providing the best conditions for the players,” Marcelo told the Odisha FC media team.

The 33-year-old forward also hailed the efforts taken by his new club to bring in the right blend of foreign players and young Indian talents. “Odisha has good youngsters and they are motivated as well. That’s a good decision (to give more chances to Indian youngsters), they are the future. Combining them with good foreigners can be lethal for the opposition teams,” Marcelo said.

He spoke highly of Odisha’s 22-year-old midfielder Vinit Rai having been impressed with the Indian international’s composure on the ball, the Brazilian said, “Vinit Rai plays like a veteran. He is smart and has a good quality in his moves during the game.”  

Marcelo then admitted that he can’t wait to start working with Odisha’s new head coach Stuart Baxter and is happy with the abundance of experience which the Englishman will bring to the team. “An experienced coach is absolutely important to manage the situations during the game, training, and for taking the best decisions. His experience, for sure, will provide many positive points to our team and I can’t wait to start the work with him,” he said.

Marcelo was also happy with the Bhubaneswar-based club’s acquisition of his countryman Diego Mauricio, who was announced as Odisha’s first foreign signing of the season. “(Playing with him) will be interesting as we talk the same language, we had the same academy from the beginning, and it will be really interesting. He is a typical number 9 and I can be the player that he needs around to score goals,” the Brazilian concluded.

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