The forward explained how manager Alexandre Guimaraes played a key role

Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Mumbai City FC have had a mixed start to the new season. They were well-beaten in their opening outing against Bengaluru FC, but bounced back with a hard-fought success against FC Goa at home.

It is a season of much change for the Islanders who have an almost new squad this campaign. However, they have managed to retain experienced tactician Alexandre Guimaraes from the last term and that should stand them in good stead in a rather unpredictable league.

One of the metropolis club’s new recruits this year is Brazilian forward Everton Santos who was amongst the goals against the Gaurs. Khel Now’s Sabin Castelino caught up with the versatile frontman to talk about all things Mumbai, the ISL and the move to India.

Like most Brazilians, Santos cannot avoid a challenge and when asked about his main motive to play for Mumbai City he said, “I think what brought me to India at this time of my career is the challenge. Like many players I love challenges. I am moved by this challenge.”

He added, “I had the opportunity to speak to (Leo) Costa, an old friend of mine who had the opportunity to play here last year. I heard good things about the team, this country and the organization. These were the things that made me arrive to this challenge.”

The forward also factored in the presence of the Costa Rican great, Alexandre Guimares, a World-Cupper both as a player and coach, for choosing to take up the move, “I think the presence of Alexandre Guimares has been important. He is a highly esteemed football player and coach. He has experience. Surely, this has influenced me to accept this new opportunity.”

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Video bytes from the exclusive interview

“It is good to share our experience and we are together on this mission. Since Guimares has worked here last year, he has experience working with an Indian group. Of course, now he has to deal with a new group, but I am sure that this experience will help in the competition.”

He went on to speak about the team’s preparation in Spain where they had their pre-season, “The moments which we had in Spain were amazing. It was a time to know each other, not only as players but also on a personal level. It was very positive – not only the results but also the preparations which we had gone through. This has prepared me and brought me to India.”

Like most Mumbai City players, Santos also shares a common goal and is working in the right earnest to achieve it. “Last year Mumbai had reached the semi-finals. I believe this year, the dream of Mumbai is winning the championship and it is not only my dream, ut also the dream of the whole team and the technical team. I am sure that this is the dream of all of us.”

Everton Santos Hero of the Match Vs FC Goa

He then took us down memory lane reflecting on his career, “I played in many Brazilian football clubs. I started my career in Santo Andre and I had worked in different clubs such as Corinthians, Fluminense, Goaes, Ponte Preta and I had experience in Europe, in Japan, South Korea. I spent four and a half years playing in South Korea. We were able to win in South Korea. In these 15 years of career, I have a good record. I have good memories to share with the players here.”

He was also very optimistic about the growth of Indian football and said, “I believe that football in India is growing as this is the 4th edition of the ISL. I believe that this league will definitely improve. Football in India continues to develop every year. This year, with all the organization and the extension of the calendar, I think soon India will reach the level of the other Asian teams such AS South Korea and Japan. I think you will achieve this goal because we are on the right path.”

In finishing, Santos called on the Mumbai City fans to come out and support the team in large numbers. “I hope that the Mumbai fans will help us because this is very important to achieve our goals for the season.”

Interview translated from Portuguese by Monica Scopel Piol, Bengaluru.