As the clubs finalise their squads in the run-up to the upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL), one thing is clear, La Liga and Spanish football continue to occupy a significant presence in India's premier league.
In continuation to its global appeal and the extension of unwavering talent, several former La Liga figures are occupying key positions across various teams ahead of the 2023/24 season of the Indian Super League (ISL).
With this, the linkage between Spain and India grew ever closer through the power of Futbol.
In addition to augmenting excitement amongst football enthusiasts in India, the presence of these former La Liga figures within the Indian football ecosystem helps in contributing towards the elevation of world-class football in the country and strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
Looking forward to awakening a giant of Asian Football, La Liga's vision for India continues to grow from strength to strength since the opening of their regional office in New Delhi in 2016, the La Liga India informed in a release on Monday.
From Real Madrid’s Javi Hernández and La Masia’s Víctor Rodríguez playing as an attacking midfielder for FC Bengaluru and as a winger for FC Goa respectively, to Valencia CF’s José Antonio Pardo and Atletico Madrid’s Alberto Noguera, the list of talent moving to the ISL continues to grow stronger.
In defense, Jose Antonio Pardo formerly of Villarreal CF, and Valencia CF will partner with Borja Herrera of Las Palmas at the heart of East Bengal FC’s defence.
José Luis Espinosa Arroyo, also known as Tiri who plays as a centre-back for Mumbai City FC, has played for La Liga clubs like Cádiz CF and Atletico Madrid. Michel Zabaco, centre-back for NorthEast United FC has been a part of Atletico Madrid’s youth setup, having also played for a bunch of Spanish clubs like UD Almeria.
Yaser Hamed, a product of Athletic Club’s academy plays as a centre-back for NorthEast United FC, while Odei Onaindia, has recently joined FC Goa in defense having started his youth career with Athletic Club.
Carlos Delgado, who plies his craft for Odisha FC, comes to the country with experience from Valencia CF.
Amongst midfielders, Mumbai City FC’s, Alberto Noguera, comes to the ISL having learned his trade with Atletico Madrid. Part of Bengaluru FC’s squad and experience having practiced with several Galacticos, Javi Hernandez comes to India having graduated from Real Madrid’s Youth Academy.
Saul Crespo, a central midfielder for East Bengal has played for Spanish clubs like SD Ponferradina & Atletico Astorga amongst others.
Finally, Juan Mera, a midfielder for Punjab FC has represented RC Celta and Brazillian footballer, João Victor who captains ISL club Hyderabad FC has played for La Liga club RCD Mallorca.
In the forward line, Néstor Albiach Roger, from NorthEast United FC has played for Levante UD, whereas Javier Siverio of East Bengal, has played for teams such as UD Las Palmas and Real Racing Club. Carlos Martínez, of Villarreal CF and Víctor Rodríguez of the famous La Masia, FC Barcelona’s academy both apply their trait to FC Goa.
The influence of Spanish football, however, is not restricted to the playing field as some of Indian football’s tactical acumen continues to be boosted by several moves from Spain to India.
Some of the high-profile names include Albert Roca, who serves as a technical consultant for Bengaluru FC. Carles Cuadrat the head coach of East Bengal Club alongside Dimas Delgado as assistant coach.
Manolo Márquez holds the position of head coach at FC Goa, while at Mohun Bagan Juan Ferrando and Antonio Lopez Habas lead the coaching staff as the head coach and technical director respectively.
Finally, in the Northeast, Juan Pedro Benali serves as the head coach of Northeast United, and Sergio Lobera is the same for Odisha FC.