Former Liverpool and Atletico Madrid superstar Luis Garcia has been revealed as the marquee player for Atletico de Kolkata as the franchise look to participate in the Indian Super League.
The 36-year old who has won a Champions League, has had two different spells for Atletico (who are joint owners of the Kolkata franchise) on the either side of his three-year tenure at Liverpool where he also won the FA Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the European Super Cup.
A new challenge
The Spaniard had already announced his retirement earlier in the year after spending two years in Mexico. However, Garcia confirmed that he'll comeback once again via his Twitter account.
“I'm very excited to share with you my new challenge. I've decided to join Atlético de Kolkata,” Garcia tweeted.
The Inaugural Indian Super League will run for two months starting from September. The league is a result of the efforts of All India Football Federation and its marketing partner IMG-Reliance.
As per the rules, every franchise in the league is allowed one marquee player with Garcia being one of them. The FA licensed agent Baljit Rihal of Inventive Sports believes that Garcia's arrival will be a step forward in India's footballing future.
“I think it’s a really important step for Indian football and more so because of Garcia’s links with Atletico Madrid,” the Asian Football Awards founder told Sky Sports.
“It’s also a really big statement of intent from the organisers because of the he fact he is also an ex- Liverpool player and Liverpool FC are very big in India.
“Being a Champions League winner himself makes this move huge because Champions League viewing figures in India run into the tens of millions and Garcia is a name that Indian football fans know.
“I think the announcement of further marquee players is imminent and I think there may well be some even higher profile names than Garcia.
“Robert Pires, Robbie Fowler, Hernan Crespo and Michael Chopra are the sorts of names that have been floating about.
“Garcia wasn’t even in the mix earlier and there is a lot more to come but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some high-profile players come that haven’t even been linked.”
Kolkata have also apprised that former Bolivia national team boss Jose Antonio Habas will manage the club with Sourav Ganguly being one of its owners too.
Ganguly added: “Atletico de Kolkata is all set to epitomise core Bengali values and philosophy and provide the platform to nurture the raw talent available all across this state which produced some of the country’s best footballers in the past.
"We will strive to showcase the finest quality of football synonymous to an iconic club like Atletico de Madrid.”
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