East Bengal could sign Bruno Fornaroli Mezza as a replacement for Spanish striker Enrique Esqueda for the next season, according to a source. An official announcement will be made soon once the team management agrees on the decision. The Uruguayan striker will join from Australia’s A-League side Melbourne City.
Esqueda, who did his last practice session with the club on Monday, would be taking the flight back home on Tuesday midnight. Coach Alejandro Menendez has already said Esqueda will not play in the Super Cup. Menendez went back to his country for a short holiday. After the practice session on Monday, Enrique gave his jersey to a supporter and waved goodbye to his teammates probably for the last time.
Incidentally, Esqueda and Fornaroli find themselves in the same bracket. Both are leaving their club after having a tiff with the coach. Fornaroli, who was ignored by City coach Warren Joyce for the last one month, finally decided to terminate the contract last month.
Joyce deemed him ‘unfit’ after Fornaroli failed to pass the skinfold test, a mandatory one in Australian football. The coach also questioned his behaviour before and after the match. But Fornaroli’s feud is not against the coach but also against his club since he refused a loan move to Sydney FC. He has a contract with City until the end of the season.
City fans started protesting immediately after Fornaroli was benched for the second successive game last month against Newcastle Jets. According to MSN, they called for Chief Executive Scott Munn to take action after “the straw that has broken the camel's back”.
This is not the first time that the British coach took the hard-line stance. He did the same against Tim Cahill, Australia’s greatest player. Like Fornaroli, Cahill too refused to move to another A-League club and finally signed for Indian Super League side Jamshedpur FC. It is expected that Fornaroli would follow the same.
Fornaroli started his youth career in local club Atletico Nacional before moving to Sampdoria, where he has Italian ancestry. He was loaned to Argentine club San Lorenzo, Recreativo Huelva and Nacional before returning to Sampdoria.
On July 2012, Fornaroli signed for Greek club Panathinaikos, where he scored two goals in 31 appearances. The 31-year-old signed for Melbourne City in 2015 and spent the most successful time of his career as a professional footballer there. He has scored 57 goals in 83 appearances and is hailed as City’s greatest striker by the fans.
Fornaroli participated in 2003 South American U-17 Championship in Bolivia and scored a goal in the group game against Venezuela.Published 12 Mar 2019, 19:56 IST