The Blues announced their first two official signings ahead of the next season.

Bengaluru FC, on Wednesday, announced the signings of experienced campaigners in defender Pratik Chaudhari and goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte, ahead of their 2020-2021 Indian Super League season. Chaudhari, who turned out for Mumbai City FC last season, and Ralte – who was previously a part of the BFC squad from 2014 to 2018 – put pen to paper on two-year deals with the Blues.

A versatile defender, Chaudhari started his career at Air India in 2011, before stints at Mohun Bagan, Mumbai FC, Rangdajied in the I-League. Bengaluru will be his fifth club in the Indian Super League, with the 30-year-old having turned out for Kerala Blasters, Delhi Dynamos and Jamshedpur FC, apart from the Islanders, in the past.

“It’s always a nice feeling when you find out that one of the best clubs in the country is interested in you and I’m extremely glad that this deal has gone through. I hope to contribute to the team in any way that I can, and the opportunity to play among some of the best Indian and foreign players in the League is something I am excited about,” said Chaudhari, following his move.

Ralte, meanwhile, is no stranger to the Bengaluru FC camp, having been a part of the side in four title winning campaigns, and on the team that faced Air Force Club in the 2016 AFC Cup final. Since joining the Blues from Shillong Lajong in 2014, the 27-year-old has turned out for NorthEast United, FC Goa and Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League, and was most recently on loan at East Bengal FC.

“I only have fond memories of my time here in Bengaluru and returning to the club for a third stint is something that I am very happy about. Apart from the fact that I will be in a team that is hungry to win, I have a bond with the city and the fans and that is something that I look forward to returning to,” said Ralte, who was previously signed back into the Blues’ squad as part of the 2017-18 Indian Super League draft.

Having handed fresh new deals to foreigners Juanan Gonzalez, Erik Paartalu and Dimas Delgado and youth prospects Leon Augustine, Parag Shrivas, Edmund Lalrindika, Ajay Chhetri, Naorem Roshan Singh and Namgyal Bhutia, the signings of Chaudhari and Ralte mark the first of the Blues’ incoming players for the new campaign.

“A big part of the success we have enjoyed at BFC is because of the right mix of experience and youth that we have within our squad. Keeping our best young performers while bringing in players like Pratik and Mawia, who know the League and the system we follow will hold us in good stead going into what will be a very challenging season,” said club CEO Mandar Tamhane. 

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