FC Pune City’s academy player to train with Villarreal ‘C’ team

FC Pune City academy’s product Mohammad Ashique Kuruniyan has joined Spanish giant Villarreal ‘C’ team on loan. The loan spell means that Kuruniyan becomes the first home grown Indian academy player to be hired by a major club in Spain.

Ashique Kuruniyan plays as a winger, but also has the capability of playing up front which makes him a unique player to have in a team.

Villarreal CF and FC Pune City, in the Indian Super League (ISL), have come to an agreement for the loan of academy player, Ashique Kuruniyan, who will train with the Yellows from now on, both in the Vilarreal C team in the Third Division as well as in the CD Roda team in the Regional Preferente league. – Statement released by the Spanish giants on their official website.

Ashique has represented India at both, the U-19 and as well as U-18 levels, and also scored a spectacular goal in the Frenz Asia Champions Trophy.

“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,” he said.

“I enjoy dribbling and crossing and I normally play as a left-winger. Internationally, I have always looked up to Neymar and Angel Di Maria.

“The thing I am most excited about is how I will interact with their players, their coaches, and I’m also looking forward to seeing what facilities they have to offer. I have never been to Europe, though I have been to countries like Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand and Palestine with the Under-19 team.”

Villarreal CF President, Fernando Roig, also expressed his satisfaction: “We’re very satisfied to bring Ashique Kuruniyan here as we believe he is a great talent. I’m sure that he is going to improve as a player here and this is only going to bode well for Indian football in general. We thank FC Pune City for facilitating this move and hope this inspires many more Indian youngsters to be successful in Europe”.

Gaurav Modwel, CEO of FC Pune City, said: “This is a testimony to the fact that India is brimming with talent; the right talent needs the right guidance to make the right moves. Ashique has a good attitude and an appetite for goals. He will only get better during his stint in Spain and I won’t be surprised if he goes on to have a longer spell there beyond the one year loan that we have agreed with Villarreal. I would like to thank Villarreal for taking this step and I hope this turns out to be the first of many such initiatives, that we will collaborate in, for the growth of Indian football”.

La Liga President, Javier Tebas, also wanted to emphasize that this is just the beginning: “We thank Villarreal CF and FC Pune City for creating a competitive pathway for young, talented players. Through the ISL, we have already seen a lot of Spanish coaches and players come to India in the last three years. For us, it’s heartening to see Indian players making the move to Spain as well”.

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