The second season of the Indian Super League will see yet another star name in action as former Chelsea and Fiorentina forward Adrian Mutu was announced FC Pune City's marquee player.
The 36-year-old was part of the Juventus side that won the Serie-A twice in a row in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and is Romania's joint top international goal-scorer after netting 35 times in 77 internationals.
The club also confirmed the signing of Ivory Coast legend Didier Zokora. The 34-year old, who has 123 games under his belt for Ivory Coast, is the most capped player in the country’s history.
Speaking at the introduction of Romanian striker Adrian Mutu, Gaurav Modwel, CEO of FC Pune City said, “Adrian's talent in front of opponents' goal is remarkable. His wealth of experience will be of great value to the team’s vision of being the best.”
Mutu and Zokora joins the likes of Yendrick Ruiz, Nickey Shorey and Steve Simonsen as some of the notable foreign recruits for the Maharashtra club which finished sixth in the inaugural edition of the ISL.
Mutu began his career with Romanian club Arges Pitesti and has played for clubs like Inter Milan, Fiorentina, Chelsea and Juventus. Moving to Chelsea in 2003 at the beginning of the Roman Abramovich era in a €22.5 million transfer from Parma, Mutu endured a difficult time in Chelsea during his second season. After a bright early spell, Mutu was embroiled in a drug-usage saga and a spat with manager Jose Mourinho. He was eventually released by Chelsea in 2004 after the English FA slapped him with a 7-month ban and £20,000 fine.
“The commitment of the (FC Pune City) management for having me as a part of the club was one of the primary reasons for me to join. This certainly will be one of the biggest challenges of my career so far and I look forward to it. The team has gathered some quality signings from India as well as abroad and excellent backroom staff will make us (FC Pune City) an exciting side,” Mutu said in a statement.
The team's new head coach David Platt said, “Adrian has experience at the highest level and a professional motivation to succeed. I've admired him from afar for some years and am very excited at the prospect of us working together for the benefit of FC Pune City.”
Zokora, meanwhile, said he was excited about this new adventure: "I have played in many countries before and every country has presented a new challenge. I am sure this journey to India will be exciting and a memorable one for me. I hope I can help my team become champions,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.
The FC Pune city squad has gone through a massive overhaul in this off-season. Apart from the aforementioned foreign stars, the squad also roped in Indian midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh, defender Gouramangi Singh and winger Jakichand Singh.
Read Firstpost's interview with Adrian Mutu here.
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Updated Date: Jul 30, 2015 17:42:33 IST