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Jordi Figueras Montel (Image Source: Google)
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ATK Sign Spanish Defender Jordi Montel

Kolkata, Sep 9 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) franchise ATK on Saturday confirmed the signing of Spanish defender Jordi Figueras Montel for the upcoming season of the football tournament.

The centre-back played for Spanish football clubs Celta, Real Betis and Real Valladolid earlier.

“I am delighted to get a chance to experience Indian football through ATK. India is gaining popularity in the global arena post the onset of ISL as we are being able to meet new fans and play some exciting football,” Montel said in a release.

“I am eagerly looking forward to getting to know my team-mates, contribute to our game plan and earn many fans from India.”

Principal Owner, ATK, Sanjiv Goenka said: “We welcome Jordi to our ATK family. Our coaching staff believes in his abilities as a central defender and feel he will be an ideal fit in our scheme of things for the upcoming season.”

The defender last played in German football club Karlsruher Sport-Club, scoring two goals in 17 matches in 2016-17.

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Finland Goalkeeper Jaaskelainen Among ATK Recruits

Kolkata, Aug 31 (IANS) Two-time champions ATK on Thursday announced three more recruits for the upcoming fourth season of the Indian Super League (ISL).

Former Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen put pen to paper for the city based franchise besides Indian recruits central midfielder Darren Caldeira and Nallappan Mohanraj who played for ATK in the 2015 season.

Jussi has also played for English clubs like West Ham United and Wigan Athletic. He also made 56 appearances for his the Finland national team.

“I welcome the boys into the ATK family. We believe that this year our team is comprised of really dynamic Indian and foreign recruits and I am happy with three more exciting talented players who are all set to exhibit their skills. We look forward to an exciting season ahead. Mohanraj had been a part of the ATK family and we welcome him back.” ATK’s principal owner Sanjiv Goenka said in a statement.

“Indian football has certainly become an exciting prospect due to the onset of ISL. It gives us a platform to interact with a whole new world of football fans who are equally erudite about the game. I have heard about the fans in Kolkata from team management and hoping to be a part of ATK’s winning legacy.” Jaaskelainen said.

“Great to be back in this exciting side after some gap. I hope to relive the fond memories of the fans and frenzy in Kolkata. I am looking forward to work with Teddy and Ashley for a good season,” Mohanraj added.

“My association with Ashley had been an enriching one during my stint at Bengaluru FC and I hope to continue the learning curve once I don the jersey of this champion side ATK,” Caldeira said.

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ATK To Begin Pre-season Training In Kolkata From September 8

Kolkata, Aug 29 (IANS) Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champions ATK will begin their pre-season training here from September 8 bucking the trend of heading to Spain from the outset every year.

ATK snapped their ties with Spanish La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid this year.

“Talks are on whether to travel abroad for pre-season (training) or not. Chances are they might go to Dubai. But this is the first time the team is not starting pre-season in Spain,” a source close to the franchise told IANS.

Only Indian recruits will train with the city-based franchise from the beginning.

ATK have retained goalkeeper Debjit Majumdar and defender Prabir Das this season, signing the likes of Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Robin Singh and Jayesh Rane among a host of other players in the ISL draft.

ATK have so far signed Ireland’s record goalscorer Robbie Keane, Portuguese forward Jose Egas dos Santos Branco also known as Zequinha and English midfielder Conor Thomas for the 2017-18 ISL season beginning in November.

ATK will be coached by Manchester United treble winning player Teddy Sheringham and Ashley Westwood has been named technical director.

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Sourav Ganguly unfazed by potential ISL joinees affecting ATK support base

Kolkata Sep 15 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Atletico de Kolkata’s co-owner Sourav Ganguly on Thursday remained unfazed by speculation about the team’s support base should traditional city giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan become part of ISL.

Rumours are rife about the city-based football powerhouses being inducted into ISL from next year. Reportedly, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and its commercial and marketing partners Football Sports Development (FSDL) have mooted a plan to include them in ISL.

Such a move could lessen the support base of ATK significantly as fans of the two established football clubs constitute the majority of its mass connect.

“Let that happen first, we will see then. I am only thinking about my club. I am ATK,” Ganguly said.

“In the last semi-final we had around 75,000 people. See when Brazil play Argentina the stadium is automatically full. I am sure when Mohun Bagan take on ATK or East Bengal play us, there will be a lot of crowd in the stands.”

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has reportedly shown an interest in sponsoring Mohun Bagan.

Quizzed about the rumours, Ganguly said: “It will be good for the club. Anything that he (Shah Rukh) gets associated with is always the best.”

The former India cricket captain remained coy when asked about environmentalists questioning ATK’s decision to host ISL matches at the Rabindra Sarobar at night.

Environmentalists say hosting matches at night under floodlights at the stadium can cause ecological hazards.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed at the eastern zone bench of the National Green Tribunal by environmental activist Subhas Datta saying it was “a better option to hold the football matches during day hours”.

He has pleaded with the bench the games should not be organised at night without proper environmental monitoring.

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