The Brazilian is the third highest goalscorer in the Indian Super League of all time.
Indian Super League side Odisha FC are on a spree during the ongoing transfer window. After securing the services of several talented Indian youngsters, the Juggernauts have signed few influential foreigners ahead of the forthcoming season. Among the most notable overseas signings at the club recently, Brazilian forward Marcelinho is one who is expected to lead the side with his performance.
The 33-year-old had won a golden boot back in 2016 with the erstwhile Delhi Dynamos. Four years later, after penning a one-year deal with Odisha FC, Marcelinho responded to a flurry of questions.
As Marcelinho approaches his fifth season in Indian football, he feels the domestic players have been developing with each passing campaign. “l am happy to be a part of this process. It is really fantastic to see the evolution of ISL. According to me, the Indian players are getting better every season, improving skills, becoming more tactical and stronger in fitness level. ISL is helping with a good quality of the organisation and providing the best conditions for the players.”
The Brazilian had earlier played for the erstwhile Delhi Dynamos, who have since shifted base and rebranded themselves as Odisha FC. Speaking about it, Marcelinho said, “Nice to be back in my first team in India. To me, I like to feel important for the club, so the coach called and made me feel like that. And, when the announcement was done, I realized that the staff from the club were happy and also the fans. So, I was sure about my decision,” the Brazilian asserted.
After the appointment of Stuart Baxter, Odisha FC seems devoted towards the development of Indian starlets. Marcelinho was asked regarding the same when he answered, “That’s a good decision, they are the future and Odisha has good youngsters and they are motivated as well. Combining them with good foreigners can be lethal for the opposition teams. I am going to try to show how committed I am during the daily routine and games, and this is the best example for the young players.”
Marcelinho was asked about Diego Mauricio – one of his countrymen who became the first overseas signing for Stuart Baxter at Odisha FC. “That will be interesting as we talk the same language. We had the same academy from the beginning and it will be really interesting. He is a typical number 9 and I can be the player that he needs around to score goals.”
“An experienced coach is absolutely important to manage the situations during the game, training, and taking the best decisions. His (Baxter’s) experience, for sure, will provide many positive points to our team and I can’t wait to start the work with him,” he shared.
Apart from Mauricio, Marcelinho also had kind words for young Indian midfielder Vinit Rai. “He plays like a veteran. He is smart and has a good quality in his moves during the game.”
One of the highest scorers in the ISL of all time, Marcelinho also revealed Sandesh Jhingan to be the toughest Indian defender he has faced during his time in the Indian top flight. The Brazilian also pointed out several domestic names such as Ashique Kuruniyan, Sahil Panwar, Rowllin Borges and Robin Singh as the players whom he deems fit to play in Europe or elsewhere.