Some of these players have proved their mettle at European sides they’ve played for in recent years.
Over the last three years, FC Goa had majorly relied on retaining their players for the subsequent seasons. With the likes of Ahmed Jahouh, Ferran Corominas, Hugo Boumous and Edu Bedia standing out as Goan favourites and producing blistering performances, it seemed like a no-brainer to do the same. However, with Sergio Lobera’s departure and the appointment of Juan Ferrando as the new head coach, FC Goa seem to have taken a new step, bringing in several new names to the squad. Let’s take a look at them:
Of all the new players, Igor Angulo would probably have the biggest shoes to fill. Ferran Corominas was not just a phenomenon at Goa, but all throughout India. Under Lobera, he transformed into a goalscoring machine and Angulo will be looking to replicate the same under Juan Ferrando. Having played in various leagues around Europe, he comes to the ISL with loads of experience.
The striker finished as top scorer in the league in Polish I Liga in the 2018-19, season scoring 24 goals in 37 games. He would be looking to emulate a similar achievement and would be looking to establish himself as one of the favourites to win the Golden Boot this season. His predatory instincts and ability to fit into Ferrando’s system would be key, as Goa aim to outperform others in both the ISL as well as the AFC Champions League.
The ISL has mandated one foreign player to be from an AFC country. That said, with the highly successful signings of David Williams and Roy Krishna from the A-League, the influx of players from Australia’s top flight should come as no surprise to anyone. FC Goa chose to strengthen their defence with James Donachie. The 6’4″ centre-back, who has made appearances for the U-20 and U-23 sides of the Socceroos would be looking to fill the shoes of Mourtada Fall and solidify the backline of the Gaurs.
The 27-year-old is highly-experienced as well, having won the A-League title thrice while also participating in the AFC Champions League. His height will be a crucial factor to deter long balls and attacking set-pieces and his ball skills will be important if FC Goa aim to stay true to their philosophy. His battle with the league’s best strikers like Roy Krishna and Sunil Chhetri will be a treat to watch. His heading ability also offers another dimension in attack.
The only remnant from the highly-successful Lobera era, Edu Bedia is no stranger to both FC Goa and ISL fans. The Spanish midfielder played a major role during the first two seasons for the Gaurs, but saw it reduce after the emergence of Hugo Boumous in the starting lineup last campaign.
Bedia’s passing skills are exemplary and he thrives in both – a creative and a destructive role. His major advantage would be his familiarity with the league and the playing style of other teams within the country. Alongside Lenny Rodrigues, Bedia will be looking to fill in the shoes of another talented midfielder Ahmed Jahouh and help FC Goa and Juan Ferrando take the next step to win the title.
Another well-travelled player to sign for FC Goa, Alberto Noguera will be looking to take over the role as the creator-in-chief for the Gaurs. With both Boumous and Jahouh departing, Noguera will want to establish himself as the link between the deep-lying midfielder Edu Bedia and lethal striker Igor Angulo. His performances would be key if Ferrando’s men are to replicate Lobera’s success at the club.
Alberto Noguera would be looking to make use of his experience from playing in Spain, England and Azerbaijan and translate that into exemplary performances here. He will also need to gel with the other creative force in the squad, Brandon Fernandes.
A versatile defender, Ivan Gonzalez comes to FC Goa after spending his entire career in Spain. A product of the Real Madrid youth system, Gonzalez can play at both – right-back and centre-back and seems like an able replacement for Carlos Pena.
Gonzalez joins the Gaurs after a four-year stint with Cultural Leonesa in his native. His ability to contribute from any position in defence would allow Ferrando to morph his squad according to the opposition when necessary and also enable him to see which players at his disposal would fit his system more. His pace at the back will also be an asset to the Gaurs’ style of play.
The former Getafe youth product was enticed with the project and vision at Goa and thus decided to sign for them, despite interest from other teams. The 28-year-old has had an illustrious career in Spain having played for several clubs, with his most notable stint being at Atletico Madrid’s ‘B’ team. He will be a welcome addition to the Goa side, who desperately need to fill creative holes within the squad.
The Spaniard will look to be the creative fulcrum for Ferrando and his superior work-rate would also be an integral part of the Gaurs’ high press. Although, in unfamiliar surroundings, Ortiz should be expected to lead the assist charts for Goa come the end of the season.