NorthEast United FC announced the signing of Nestor Albiach, fondly known as El Lince, for the 2023-24 season. The Spanish forward becomes the third new foreign recruit and the seventh new signing for the Highlanders. Nestor’s football journey began at the age of six with Levante.

The versatile attacker has plied his trade largely in Spain and the Czech Republic, including a stint with record 13-time Czech First League champions, Sparta Prague, for whom he also featured in the UEFA Europa League. After returning to Spain in 2019, he featured for clubs like Badalona and Numancia over the next two and a half seasons. And in 2021, he moved to Rayo Majadahonda, becoming a key personnel in their attack and amassing over 70 appearances for the club.

Excited about embarking on his new venture in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), Nestor Albiach said, "I am thrilled and happy with the opportunity to play in India and in the Hero ISL. Joining NorthEast United FC is a significant responsibility, and I made this decision because of the trust they placed in me and the ambitious nature project of the project currently underway."

The 30-year-old is the second Spanish recruit of the summer, and head coach Juan Pedro Benali revealed the strategic thinking behind the latest acquisition. "Nestor is a very special player with the ability to feature across the attacking line. His presence will infuse our young team with quality and experience. As a seasoned player, he will also serve as a mentor and guide our talented youngsters towards achieving our collective objectives," exclaimed Benali.

NorthEast United FC CEO Mandar Tamhane expressed his excitement about Nestor Albiach's signing, saying, "We are thrilled to have Nestor join our ranks, given his exceptional skills, vast experience, and immense potential. We firmly believe that he will elevate the quality of our squad, adding depth and firepower to our attack. With his talent, we are confident he will thrive in the Hero ISL and play a pivotal role in propelling our club to new heights."

Bengaluru FC add full-back Jessel Carneiro and midfielder Shankar Sampingiraj to their roster

Bengaluru FC have signed full-back Jessel Carneiro and midfielder Shankar Sampingiraj ahead of the 2023-24 campaign, the club announced on Tuesday. Carneiro, who most recently turned out for Kerala Blasters FC, has signed a two-year deal, while Sampingiraj has put pen to paper on a one-year contract.

“I was really happy to learn about BFC’s interest, as this is one of the top clubs in India. From my initial conversations, I felt a great sense of belonging to the club and this is something that really drew me towards signing. The stars on top of the club badge say everything about what this club stands for and wants to achieve, and I’m looking forward to putting all my experience and hard work out on the pitch to help this club achieve its targets,” said Jessel, after the completion of formalities on his deal.

Jessel, who began his career at Dempo, turned out for Pune FC and FC Bardez before joining Kerala Blasters FC in 2019. A part of the Goan State team that reached the semifinal of the Santosh Trophy in 2019, Jessel was named skipper of the Blasters in November 2021, and has 63 Hero ISL appearances to his name in four seasons.

Shankar, meanwhile, rejoins the club after a successful three year stint with the Blues’ between 2013 and 2016. During his time at the club, Shankar won a Federation Cup trophy (2015) and the I-League title (2016). The 28-year-old has previously turned out for Kerala Blasters, ATK, FC Pune City and Hyderabad FC in the Hero ISL. He was also part of the RoundGlass Punjab FC side that won the I-League last season.

“I’m really excited to be back at BFC as this is the club where I made some of my best memories as a footballer. I’m a Bengaluru boy, and to give back to the city always means more, and I’m looking forward to contributing in the best possible way,” said Shankar, after completing the formalities on his deal.

The duo, who completed their medicals at the Bangalore Baptist Hospital last week, have made their way to the Inspire Institute of Sport, in Bellary, where the Blues squad is due to convene for preseason testing.

“Jessel and Shankar are two experienced players who will help us add much needed depth to our squad. Shankar knows what it means to pull on the BFC shirt and Jessel, as a leader in his previous team, will be valuable assets to our roster as we look to compete on all fronts this season. On behalf of the club, I want to welcome them to our family, and wish them luck during their time here,” said Blues’ Director of Football, Darren Caldeira.

Jerry Lalrinzuala signs for Odisha FC on a one-year deal

Jerry Lalrinzuala has joined Odisha FC on a contract running till May 2024, with the option for a further year, the club announced on Tuesday. Jerry is a product of the AIFF Elite Academy. He traveled to France for a training stint with FC Metz in his early days as a footballer.

From Humble Beginnings to ISL Glory: Hailing from Mizoram, Jerry's footballing journey is nothing short of inspiring. In 2016, he shot to prominence when he became the youngest Indian to debut (Chennaiyin FC) and score in the history of the Hero ISL. Since then, his career trajectory has been on a constant upward curve.

Hero ISL Triumph and Standout Performances: Jerry's journey with Chennaiyin FC reached its pinnacle during the 2020-2021 Hero ISL season. His consistent performances and resolute defending played a pivotal role in CFC clinching the Hero ISL title that year. Moreover, his proficiency in overlapping runs and pin-point crosses has made him a threat even in the attacking third of the field.

His ability to read the game, timely interceptions, and exceptional positioning have made him one of the standout defenders in the league. The young footballer's consistency and maturity on the field are traits that have impressed the fans, and pundits alike.

Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera on Jerry's arrival: "Jerry is a very experienced player in a very important position in our system. I am happy with his signing and welcome him to the club. I am sure that we will continue to grow and achieve success together."

Jerry on joining Odisha FC: "Odisha FC is a club with great ambition, and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of it. Having known many of the players for years, I am eagerly looking forward to joining them soon and embarking on this exciting new challenge."