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Ashique Kuruniyan of Pune City FC signed on loan by La Liga side Villarreal CF

Pune City FC attacking midfielder Ashique Kuruniyan has earned a loan deal with La Liga giants.

Ashique Kuruniyan in Pune FC Academy kit
Ashique Kuruniyan in Pune FC Academy kit

Indian U-19 international Ashique Kuruniyan has signed a 2.5-month loan spell with La Liga side Villarreal CF‘s, who ply their trade in the first division of the Spanish League,ie, La Liga. He will join up with the club’s third team. 

Ashique, a resident of Pattarkadavu of Malappuram in Kerala is part of the squad of Indian Super League side Pune City FC, but is yet to make an appearance for them this season. A graduate of the Pune FC (the I-League club) academy, Ashique was about to join the Delhi Dynamos for the season, but Pune City FC subsequently took over the academy, and Ashique joined Pune City FC for his debut campaign.

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The Pune City FC man is a highly rated creative midfielder who can also play as a striker. He was brilliant for Pune FC as they finished runners-up in U-19 I-League season 2014-2015.  Since then he has attracted a lot of attention on the National stage, called up for the Indian U-19 side, and also have spent time training in the Indian Elite Academy in Goa. 

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The 19-year old, is earmarked to join the La Liga side Villareal CF on October 31st. However, it is highly unlikely that Ashique goes straight to the first team picture if he does it will be great news for Indian football fans all across the world. 

Villareal themselves have started the season in fine fashion, currently positioned fourth in the League, having finished in the same position last year in the La Liga. He will be the second Indian to be registered to a La Liga side, with Ishan Pandita recently having signed for Leganes

Update: 

Ashique said he was keen to make a mark in Spain and come back a better player and play for India and FC Pune City both. “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.

Villarreal CF’s President Fernando Roig said this is just the beginning of identifying good talent from India and giving them a chance to play against in our 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.” 

LaLiga President Javier Tebas said this is just the beginning of identifying good talent from India and giving them a chance to play against the best in the business. “We thank FC Pune City and Villarreal CF for creating a competitive pathway for young talented players. Through ISL, we have already seen a lot of Spanish coaches and players come to India in the last three years. For us at LaLiga, it’s heartening to see Indian players making a move to Spain as well. We hope that this inspires many more young talented Indian players to get opportunities in Spain.” 

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