Head Coach: José Molina
Squad as on 12.08.16
Bidyananda Singh Ningthoujam
Lalrindika Ralte (Dika)
Hélder Postiga (marquee)
Pablo José Gallardo Zurera
Portuguese football icon Hélder Postiga back in Indian Super League as Atlético de Kolkata signs him as its marquee player
Posted by: Clara Fernandes at 8/12/2016 05:24:00 am
~ Team retains important midfielders Borja Fernández and Javi Lara in the squad ~
~ Team management has also executed agreements with Keegan Pereira and Abinash Ruidas ~
Chandigarh, 12th August, 2016: In their quest for the title in the third season, the title winner of the inaugural season of the Indian Super League and the semi-finalist of the second edition, Atlético de Kolkata announced today that the marquee player for the forthcoming season would be the iconic Portuguese striker Hélder Postiga. A Portuguese international footballer since 2003, Postiga represented his country in two World Cups and three European Championships, helping the nation reach the final at Euro 2004. Postiga made a resounding entry as the youngest marquee player in his first ISL and although it was cut short due to a grave injury, he created a lasting impact in the mind of his Indian fans in the opening game of the season, scoring twice in a 3–2 win versus Chennaiyin FC. The team management also announced the retention of two key players in the team ranks, Borja Fernández and Javi Lara, today, who played stellar roles in taking ATK to greater heights on the field. The team management also announced the signing of left back Keegan Pereira on loan from Bengaluru FC and left winger Abinash Ruidas on loan from East Bengal.
“On behalf of the team management, we welcome home Postiga within the Atlético de Kolkata family for the second time as our marquee player for the 2016 season of ISL. Postiga has been in electrifying form and fitness and his sheer ability to score goals made us go back to him and seal the deal. The red and white brigade fans were unfortunate to miss his on field camaraderie with our Indian players and skills last season owing to his injury. But this year the ATK management feels that it will be an altogether different sight to see him charge with the ball. We would also like to thank Atlético de Madrid for their support in recruiting the International Players.”
- Mr. Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman RP- Sanjiv Goenka Group, Co-owner, Atlético de Kolkata
Postiga recently played in Primeira Liga for the top flight team Rio Ave F.C in Portugal and made 11 appearances scoring 5 goals helping his side qualify for the Europa League. Postiga’s career was shaped up at FC Porto's youth teams when he joined the squad in 1998 and continued to progress ever since. Postiga has also played in Spanish club
Deportivo de La Coruña as a striker. Having significant experience in the European football circuit, Postiga besides representing his National Team Portugal, also played for clubs like Porto, Valencia, Lazio, Sporting Lisbon and Premier League Club Tottenham Hotspur beside others. He will be strengthening the new look Atlético De Kolkata side and will be seen charging towards the opponent’s goal as a striker.
”Postiga is a big name for any team and his presence will definitely bolster the team for the season ahead and also allow the Indian and International players to learn from him about the way he goes about preparing for a major tournament like ISL. He has been playing good football of late and we hope he will be in his finest form once he is in India. Along with Postiga the presence of Borja and Javi will add fervour to the midfield. Borja had been the mainstay for the team’s midfield and orchestrated many moves which yielded positive results in the last two seasons. I am enthusiastic with two more Indian players like Keegan and Abinash who will be donning our colours and eagerly looking forward to the pre-season now in Spain.”
- Mr. José Molina, Head Coach, Atlético de Kolkata
About Atlético de Kolkata:
Hélder Manuel Marques Postiga, is a Portuguese footballer, born on 2nd August 1982 having last played in Primeira Liga for the top flight team Rio Ave F.C in Portugal and made 11 appearances scoring 5 goals helping his side qualify for the Europa League.
After starting professionally at Porto, Postiga amassed Primeira Liga totals of 185 games and 49 goals over the course of ten seasons, with Porto and Sporting. He also played abroad, most notably in Spain.
A Portuguese international since 2003 (at the age of 21), Postiga represented the country in two World Cups and three European Championships, helping the national team reach the final at Euro 2004. He has scored 27 times in his 67 international appearances. Postiga made his debut for the Portuguese national team debut on 12 February 2003 in a friendly match with Italy, where he came on as a substitute for Tiago Mendes in the 70th minute – this game was also Luiz Felipe Scolari's debut as Portugal manager. He was handed his first start on 10 June in a 4–0 win over Bolivia, where he scored his first two international goals.
After José Mourinho was hired as Porto manager, Postiga became a first-team regular. The 20-year-old scored 19 times in 2002–03 playing alongside Derlei. Postiga was selected for UEFA Euro 2004. In the tournament he managed to save his team from defeat against England during the quarter-finals, netting an 83rd-minute 1–1 equaliser as Portugal would
prevail in the penalty shootout 6–5 after a 2–2 draw. Postiga also played for Spanish club Deportivo de La Coruña as a striker.
Javier "Javi" Lara Grande is a Spanish player from the Cordoba CF’s youth set-up and made his senior debut in the 2003-04 fourth division with the Cordoba B side. He played as a professional in September 2009 with Elche CF. Slowly progressing in the league rungs; Javier made his debut in the top flight of Spanish football in 2014 with freshly-promoted SD Eibar. He has the distinction of scoring the side’s first goal in the competition, against Real Sociedad. He is known for his dead-ball prowess and will add value to the already strong midfield contingent of ATK.
Borja Fernández, better known as Borja, is a graduate of the Real Madrid youth system and rose through the ranks, becoming a first-team player in 2003. The defensive midfielder represented Los Blancos in 23 games. After a brief loan spell at Mallorca, he moved to Real Valladolid and helped the second-division side earn promotion to La Liga. He has since had spells at Getafe and Deportivo la Coruña. He also represented in the competition Mallorca, Valladolid, Getafe and Eibar.
The 6 feet 2 inches behemoth has been possibly the most important player of the Atlético de Kolkata side which won the Hero ISL 2014 and continued his form in 2015. Playing as a defensive screen, the Spaniard not only led the table for tackles in the tournament with 63 (Highest in the League) but also pitched in offensively with a goal and 2 assists. He played for Eibar in the La Liga last season.
Ruidas began his career with the youth sides at Mohun Bagan and Bhawanipore. He eventually joined I-League club East Bengal and played for the club in the Calcutta Football League where he impressed pundits and coaches as East Bengal won the state league. Ruidas made his debut for the India U23s against Uzbekistan U23s on 27 March 2015 in a AFC U-23 qualifier in Dhaka. Ruidas is a livewire in the left midfield and has the ability to split the opponent defence with his speed and dribbling skills.
Born in Mumbai, Keegan played for his hometown in the I-League for six years. Later, Keegan joined former I-League champions Salgaocar. In January 2013, he signed for a I-League 2nd Division team DSK Shivajians. Keegan appeared 6 times for DSK and scored once against Rangdajied United in the group stages. In June 2013 Pereira signed with new direct-entry side Bengaluru FC for the 2013–14 I-League season. He made his debut for the side in their opening I-League match ever on 22 September 2013 against Mohun Bagan in which he started and played the full game also gaining a penalty for BFC after being brought down by a Mohun Bagan defender in the penalty box as Bengaluru drew 1–1. Pereira was drafted to play for Mumbai City FC in the last season of Indian Super League.