Brazilian defender Eli Sabia rejoins Chennaiyin FC
Chennai, Aug 25 (PTI): Brazilian defender Eli Sabia has rejoined Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC on a one-year contract.
The 29-year old centre-back makes a comeback to the club, having made 11 appearances for it in the 2016 ISL campaign, a press note here said.
He last played for Al-Raed FC in the Saudi Arabian top tier.
"I am very happy to return to Chennaiyin FC. I always felt at home during my first stint with the club, and I am looking forward to working with John (Gregory) and my teammates," Sabia was quoted as saying.
The Brazilian player said he was determined to help the club retain the title they won last year.
Head coach John Gregory was happy with the signing and said he expected Sabia to play a key role in CFC's title defence.
"Eli is physically strong and has a commanding presence at the back. He was playing in one of the top leagues of Asia and has all the qualities to play an integral role in our title defence," Gregory added.
Hailing from Sao Paulo, Eli began his career at local club Paulista, progressing through the youth ranks before appearing for the senior team.
He had several high-profile loan spells during his time at Paulista, with one of them at Swiss top division outfit FC Lausanne in 2007-08 besides stints at Brazilian giants Santos and Atletico Paranaense.
Following his first-ever season in Indian football back in the third season of the ISL, Sabia moved to Brazilian club Sertaozinho FC before switching to Al-Raed in Saudi Arabia.
Eli returns to CFC on the back of 21 league appearances for Al-Raed which also saw him score one goal.
The defender has joined the pre-season training base of the two-time ISL champions in Malaysia and was presented the number 13 jersey by coach Gregory today