Helder Postiga

Kolkata, Aug 12 (IANS) Portuguese striker Hélder Postiga will be the marquee player for crack ISL side Atlético de Kolkata for the forthcoming season, the franchise announced on Friday.

The 33-year-old international footballer has represented his country in two World Cups and three European Championships, helping the nation reach the final at Euro 2004.

Postiga was the marquee footballer for ATK last year too, but his stint was cut short due to a grave injury.

But as the youngest marquee player in his first ISL, Postiga created a lasting impact on the minds of his Indian fans in the opening game of the season, scoring twice in a 3-2 win versus Chennaiyin FC.

Postiga recently played in Primeira Liga for the top flight team Rio Ave FC in Portugal and made 11 appearances scoring 5 goals and helping his side qualify for the Europa League.

The team management also announced the retention of two key players – Borja Fernández and Javi Lara.

Besides, ATK has roped in left back Keegan Pereira on loan from Bengaluru FC and left winger Abinash Ruidas on loan from East Bengal.

ATK head coach Jose Molina and team co-owner Sanjiv Goenka welcomed Postiga into the side.

“Postiga is a big name for any team and his presence will definitely bolster the team for the season ahead and also allow the Indian and International players to learn from him about the way he goes about preparing for a major tournament.

“He has been playing good football of late and we hope he will be in his finest form once he is in India. Along with Postiga the presence of Borja and Javi will add fervour to the midfield,” said Molina.

Goenka said Postiga’s recent form and his ability to score goals made the franchise opt for him again.

“Postiga has been in electrifying form and fitness and his sheer ability to score goals made us go back to him and seal the deal. The red and white brigade fans were unfortunate to miss his on field camaraderie with our Indian players and skills last season owing to his injury.

“But this year the ATK management feels that it will be an altogether different sight to see him charge with the ball. We would also like to thank Atlético de Madrid for their support in recruiting the international players,” said Goenka.

    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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