Selflessness, versatility, and creativity better describe Alberto Noguera, who became the ultimate cult hero for Mumbai City FC during their League Shield victory in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season.

Noguera accumulated only 903 minutes in 20 Hero ISL appearances this season, with fourteen of them coming from the substitutes’ bench. He had to settle on the bench given the Islanders had Greg Stewart and Jorge Pereyra Diaz ahead of him in the pecking order. But his contributions on the pitch can never be questioned given that he scored four goals with an impressive 20% conversion rate along with one assist in these matches.

Noguera, who just completed his third season in the Hero ISL, spoke about the league's significant improvement that he has witnessed over the years.

“The Hero ISL is doing well. They have a lot of room to grow and they're doing it," Noguera stated in an interview with myKhel.

Mumbai City FC had a remarkable Hero ISL campaign, losing just two of the 20 matches and clinching the League Shield for the second time. Although they lost to Bengaluru FC in the semi-final, they redeemed themselves by securing a place in the AFC Champions League 2023-24 group stage with a 3-1 victory over Jamshedpur FC in the Hero Club Playoffs. Notably, Noguera scored the second goal for Mumbai City FC in that match.

The Spaniard shared the club's ambition for the next season as they will go on to represent the country in the AFC Champions League for the second time.

"The expectations will be the same. We're here to try to win everything. We will try to do better than this year. Sometimes you can't get success every day, next year (we will) play in the AFC Champions League and I think we're ready,” Noguera said.

Several Hero ISL clubs have partnered with European clubs to improve grassroots football in India. La Liga India has also extended its hand to develop the football infrastructure in the country. Noguera believes that this kind gesture from his home country can lead to significant improvements in Indian football in the future.

"I think they (Indian clubs) are trying to grow and they have to keep doing it. India needs a lot of change at the grassroots and academy levels. They need more places where kids can play. They are putting in a lot of effort and I am sure they will do it," he opined.

The 33-year-old also spoke about his experience working with young Indian players and expressed optimism about their future, provided they continue to work hard in training sessions.

"Every year I try to speak with young players. Sometimes I feel they get lazy because they think they have reached their top level. They feel that's enough, but that shouldn't be. They should try to be the best players every day, in every training (session). If the youngsters try to push themselves, India has a lot of potential,” Noguera concluded.