Bengaluru sign Spanish midfielder Luisma for the rest of the season

Bengaluru FC, on Thursday, announced that they have secured the services of Spanish midfielder Luis Manuel Villa, more commonly known as ‘Luisma’, on a deal that runs until the end of the 2018-19 campaign. The 29-year-old has been added to the squad ahead of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) registration deadline of January 31, as a replacement for Bhutanese winger Chencho Gyeltshen, who completed a loan move to Neroca FC earlier.

Luisma, a product of the Racing Santander youth setup, made several appearances with the Santander B side before making his La Liga debut with the Green and Whites in 2007. Spells at Segunda Division B sides followed, representing Real Union and Deportivo Alaves among other clubs.

"I am very happy to have signed for Bengaluru FC, and I can’t wait to start playing for the club. I’m eager to meet my new teammates and to play my part in the rest of the season. I know that Bengaluru are a club that wins trophies and I want to help them do that," Luisma said after putting pen to paper.

Luisma made a move to England in 2013, when he joined the then Conference Premier side Barnet, scoring 17 goals across two seasons. The Spaniard returned to Spain in 2015, joining Arenas Club de Getxo, before a short spell at SD Ponferradina last season.

Head Coach Carles Cuadrat expressed his delight with the signing of Luisma. "We are very happy to bring Luisma into the squad. Going into a crucial part of the season, where we are fighting for the playoff spots, we felt it was important to have a player who can fit into our style of play and bring some fresh air to the squad. Luisma can also improve our numbers from set pieces because of his ability to shoot and cross from dead ball situations," he stated.

The Blues’ boss also reserved a word of praise for outgoing winger Chencho Gyeltshen, who he said has played an important part in the Blues’ campaign so far. "Chencho played a crucial part in our campaign, giving us four points against NorthEast United with his two goals, and has shown a fantastic attitude in training by working hard every time. We will be keeping a note on his progress with Neroca, because he is a young player who we are sure will improve with each performance," Cuadrat said.

Luisma is set to wear the number 9 shirt for the Blues and will be available for selection ahead of Bengaluru’s clash against Kerala Blasters FC on February 6.

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