Chennaiyin FC have signed Brazilian attacking midfielder Rafael Crivellaro as their third foreign signing ahead of the 2023-24 season.

The 34-year-old joined the Marina Machans after spending the latter half of the 2022-23 season at Jamshedpur FC where he registered two goals and four assists in 13 matches across all competitions.  It included an impressive outing in the Super Cup with two goals and as many assists in three games.

Chennaiyin Fc earlier roped in Australian Jordan Murray and Scotland’s Connor Shields as the club’s first two international signings ahead of the upcoming season.

Crivellaro, who captained the two-time ISL Cup Winners in 2020-21, is a popular name amongst Indian football fans. He played a crucial role in Chennaiyin FC’s runners-up finish in 2019-20 with seven goals and eight assists. Fans will be hoping for a similar show from the Brazilian star when he reunites with the newly-appointed head coach Owen Coyle.

“I’m very proud to put on the blue jersey once again and also excited to be reunited with Owen Coyle. I’m very aware of the challenge that’s ahead of me and I will give my everything to give the fans what they deserve,” Crivellaro said after returning to the club,

Crivellaro has registered eight goals and 11 assists from 37 matches in his four-season-long ISL career so far.

East Bengal made twin foreign signings

East Bengal FC have roped in defenders Jordan Elsey and Jose Antonio Pardo Lucas for the upcoming season.

Australian Elsey joins East Bengal from A-League side Perth Glory. Hailing from Adelaide, the 29-year-old won an A-League Premiership (2015-16), an A-League Championship (2015-16) and two Australia Cups (2018 and 2019) during his Adelaide United stint between 2013 and 2021 before moving to Newcastle Jets.

Having played 35 matches for Newcastle Jets across two seasons, the powerful centre-back joined Perth Glory in January this year. Excited to make his foray into Indian football, Elsey said, “It’s a great honour for me to sign for this historic club. I am looking forward to meeting my teammates and having a successful season. I can’t wait to play in front of our fans about whom I’ve heard so much. Joy East Bengal!”

Pardo, on the other hand, has represented a host of Spanish clubs and played over 70 matches in La Liga 2. He was instrumental in Eldense’s return to Spain’s second tier after 61 years in June this year.

Having played youth football for Villareal CF and Valencia CF, the experienced centre-back is all set to embark on his maiden stint in Indian football. Pardo said, “I am very excited to begin my journey in Indian football with a historic club like East Bengal. I hope to return all the love and energy that our passionate fans will shower on us in each game. An incredible year awaits us.”

Commenting on the defensive duo, East Bengal’s Head Coach Carles Cuadrat said, “In Elsey and Pardo, we have two experienced central defenders who will be a great asset to help us to be consistent in our defence. A good defence is essential to a team’s success, and with both in our fold, we feel that our defensive line will be a solid one.”

Bengaluru FC rope in versatile Dutch defender Keziah Veendorp

Bengaluru FC, on Saturday, announced the signing of Dutch defender Keziah Veendorp, who put pen to paper on a two-year deal, set to run until the end of the 2024-25 campaign.

Veendorp, who most recently turned out for FC Emmen in the Eredivisie, is a product of the FC Groningen Academy, and has represented the Netherlands at the U15, U17 and U19 level.

“I’m really excited to join Bengaluru FC and I’m looking forward to joining the team, meeting the staff and my new teammates. I had a lot of options, but Bengaluru was the choice because I was keen on taking the next step, both in my career and in my life. My family and I have never been to India before, but all the stories I’ve heard have been great, especially those about the fans. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to play for Bengaluru FC and to experience the atmosphere in the stadium,” said Veendorp, after the completion of formalities on his deal.

Veendorp, who made 174 appearances for Emmen across five seasons, was part of the Kannibals’ side that clinched promotion to the Eredivisie in 2018, with a win over Sparta Rotterdam in the playoff final. After three years in the Eredivisie, Veendorp and Emmen dropped back to the Eerste Divisie for one season, before making their way back into the top-flight following a fantastic run of results at De Oude Meerdijk in the 2021-22 campaign.

“Keziah is a versatile player who is equally comfortable in midfield and defence. He played at the highest level in Holland for a very long time, and is another character with a very good winning mentality, who was eager to come to our football club. We’re really looking forward to working with him, and I’m sure he’ll help us in many different departments this season,” said Blues’ boss Simon Grayson.