The Spaniard signed a one-year deal with the Gaurs.

FC Goa has made a brilliant acquisition of 35-year-old Spanish centre-back Marc Valiente. He is Gaurs’ fifth foreign signing for the season, and the third Spaniard, following Alvaro Vazquez and Iker Guarrotxena. With this signing, Goa has strengthened their defensive department for the upcoming season of the Indian Super League.

The La Masia product has represented Spain at the U-19 and U-20 levels, helping his national team to lift the U-19 European cup in 2006. His accolades also includes winning the Copa Del Rey with Sevilla in 2009-10. The Spaniard has made 59 and 176 appearances in La Liga and La Liga 2, respectively. 

Goa’s first-choice centre-backs from last season – Ivan Gonzalez and Dylan Fox – departed the club and the Gaurs needed reinforcements. The addition of Valiente to the squad is a massive boost for the Gaurs as they complete their centre-back options with Fares Arnaout and him. His leadership and on-the-field abilities will benefit the Gaurs during the 2022-23 ISL season.

Prior experience

Born in Barcelona, Marc Valiente started his career at FC Barcelona youth academy aged 10. He has played alongside the club’s greats, Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas, and Gerard Pique; while captaining most of the academy’s sides. 

The 35-year-old played for Barcelona C, Barcelona B, and even for Barcelona’s first team in a Copa Del Rey match. In 2008, Valiente moved to Sevilla after being released by Barca. In his first season with Sevilla, he played in the reserve team in the Segunda division. In the 2009-10 season, the defender made three appearances in the La Liga as a result of injuries to Sevilla’s first-team players. 

After being released by Sevilla in 2010, he penned a three-year deal with the then recently relegated side Real Valladolid. Here he played with the current FC Goa head coach, Carlos Pena. In his second year with the club, he helped them to get promoted to the first tier. 

In 2015, Valiente moved abroad for the first time, signing with the Israeli club Maccabi Haifa. In his first campaign with the side, they won the Israel State Cup after 18 years, defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0. 

The centre-back then moved to Serbian side FK Partizan, after a brief stint with Belgian club KAS Eupen in 2018. He won the Serbian Cup with the side and secured a UEFA Europa League qualifying round spot. 

Valiente returned to Spain after signing a contract with the second-tier side Sporting de Gijon in 2019. Goa announced the player for the upcoming season on 28th July.

Type of player

Marc Valiente is an outstanding centre-back. His defensive abilities, combined with his leadership abilities, make him an indispensable asset to any team.

Setting up offside traps cleverly, following the opposition attacker when he comes down the pitch to receive the ball, and pressuring him to commit mistakes are his forte. 

The defender is confident with the ball and sets the tempo while building from the back. Moreover, he can deceive the opposing player and string a pass into the midfield. He usually occupies the farther areas near the goalposts in dead-ball situations.

Valiente is not afraid to commit to a tackle, whether inside or outside the penalty area. He often leaves the defensive line following the opposition striker, and at times, this movement exposes defensive space for other opposition players to attack.

The Spaniard’s ability to put long balls in towards the attacking players with accuracy is another feather in his cap.

What does he bring to the team?

Marc has previously shared a dressing room with both Alvaro Vasquez and Carlos Pena. As a result of his familiarity, he will be able to adjust quickly. His style of play suits the one that the Gaurs demand. 

With his experience in the various leagues he has played and conquered, he will be beneficial to the Goan side as they look to win the ISL title. He might face competition for the centre-back position with Fares Arnaout

Goa’s Director of Football, Ravi Puskur, rates the 35-year-old highly. Puskur said, “Marc is a high quality player who comes in with significant playing experience at a very high level throughout his career. He is an ideal fit for our style of football. He’s extremely good with the ball and building out from the back and in our style of play, that is a fundamental requirement of the center backs.”

“His off-the-ball awareness, anticipation and judgment will make him an excellent leader of the defensive line and his natural leadership skills will definitely come to the fore as the season progresses. We’re very satisfied to have brought Marc on board,” he added.

This underlines the mood of the camp regarding the transfer move. The arrival of the Spaniard is an exciting prospect for the fans to look forward to in the coming season.

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