Md. Ashique Kuruniyan

Pune , Oct 26 (IANS) FC Pune City’s academy product Md. Ashique Kuruniyan has secured a loan move to La Liga club Villarreal’s third division team, the Indian Super League (ISL) football franchise said.

This the first time a home-grown Indian academy player has been selected by a top Spanish club to ply his trade in Europe, according to a release on Wednesday.

The Kerala-born winger has been selected in the Indian team for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-19 Championships.

He has also represented India in the U-18 category in the Asia Champions Trophy, scoring a goal that brought him in the spotlight.

Ashique said he was keen to make a mark in Spain and return to India a better player.

“This is a dream come true. All these years, we would admire these top clubs and their players from afar, but thanks to FC Pune City and Villarreal, I will get a chance to play at one of the most respected clubs in Spain,” said Ashique in the release.

Villarreal President Fernando Roig said this is just the beginning of identifying good talent from India and giving them a chance to play against in their youth team.

“Villarreal CF was more than happy to absorb Md. Ashique Kuruniyan in their side because we saw the spark in him. Our coaches will work on him and we will aim to realise his true potential.”

“His development as a player is given and this will only bode well for football in India in general. We thank FC Pune City for facilitating this move and hope this inspires a lot more young talent to make it big in Europe.”

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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