Raphael Augusto leaves Chennaiyin to join Bengaluru in high-profile switch

Brazilian midfielder Raphael Augusto has parted ways with Chennaiyin FC to join defending champions Bengaluru FC in a sensational transfer ahead of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20. He has penned a 2-year contract with Bengaluru, which will keep him at the club till the end of the 2020-2021 season.

The 28-year-old, who joined Chennaiyin in 2015 has been an integral part of the team since, helping them win the Hero ISL title twice - first in 2015 and then in 2017-18. In his first season with the Marina Machans, Augusto played 12 matches and scored once to help Chennaiyin finish in the top four. The dynamic midfielder, however, picked up an unfortunate injury and missed out on the semis and the final.

After a somewhat lacklustre second season with Chennaiyin, Augusto came to the fore yet again in the 2017-18 campaign and was involved throughout as Chennaiyin lifted their second title in three seasons. Most notably, the Brazilian scored the third goal for the team in the final, which Chennaiyin won 3-2 against Bengaluru.

The 2018-19 season turned out to be a disappointing one for Chennaiyin and Augusto, but the Brazilian will undoubtedly leave Chennaiyin as a club legend, having contributed heavily to their success over the years. The midfield dynamo played a total of 62 Hero ISL matches for Chennaiyin, scoring 6 goals and laying out 6 assists. However, his biggest strength is the energy and creativity he offers in the middle of the park - two traits which have thoroughly established him as one of the most coveted midfielders in the league.

Bringing Augusto on board represents a smart piece of business for Bengaluru, who will be looking to strengthen their squad in a bid to defend their title in Hero ISL 2019-20. A tireless worker with an eye for a final pass and a lot of flair, Augusto is expected to seamlessly fit into Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat's system, which incorporates quick passing-enabled counter attacks. Augusto will also be the first Brazilian to put on the Bengaluru FC shirt since the club's inception.

"I am so happy to sign for a big team like Bengaluru FC. I was amazed in the manner in which the club fought tooth and nail to win the championship last season, and it’s a good feeling to be a part of that team now. Bengaluru have a very good coach, a good set of players and some amazing fans and I’m sure together, all of us can win more titles for the club," Augusto told the official Bengaluru FC website after completing the move.

Cuadrat, meanwhile, was full of praise for his latest acquisition and said, "I’d like to welcome Raphael, who is a two-time league winner, to the squad. We’re all aware of, and have seen the kind of talent he possesses. The onus is now on us to get the best out of an exceptional player like Raphael. We have a season that also includes Asian competition and a title-defence, and it’s going to take experience, talent and hard work to make it a successful one. I believe that Raphael brings all three attributes to the dressing room."

"Raphael Augusto is a name synonymous with Chennaiyin and the club’s rich history. He will forever be remembered as someone who gave more than 200% every time he took to the pitch, and the club’s most ardent supporter off the pitch. We hope he continues to remain one, even now. We are all emotional at his departure from the club, and we would like to take this moment to thank him for all the countless memories. His flair, trickery, technical brilliance and not to mention his ever-smiling demeanour will forever be ingrained in our club’s folklore. We would like to wish him and his lovely family, the very best for the future," read the joint statement put out by the Chennaiyin FC co-owners after it was revealed that the player would leave the club.

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