I-League 2018: East Bengal sign World Cupper Johnny Acosta
What's the story?
Costa Rican defender, Johnny Acosta has finally completed his much-awaited move to I-League stalwarts, East Bengal FC. The defender has been a constant in the Costa Rica international side, having featured in the previous two editions of the FIFA World Cup.
In case you didn't know...
Johnny Acosta joins a stellar list of ex-World Cuppers, who have moved to India in the recent years.
Robbie Keane, Nicolas Anelka, Roberto Carlos, Alessandro Del Piero, Alessandro Nesta, Marco Materazzi, Diego Forlan, David Trezeguet, and Freddie Ljungberg have all spent their twilight years in India; playing in the commercially-driven Indian Super League.
ISL's less-endowed sister, I-League has also seen some of the World Cuppers line up with their Indian teammates. Emeka Ezeugo, Majid Bishkar, and MacDonald Mukansi are amongst those.
The heart of the matter
East Bengal have finally confirmed the signing of the Costa Rican defender, Johnny Acosta, via their social media accounts. The move was being touted to happen for a very long time and was verbally agreed between all the parties. In anticipation of his arrival, Bengal fans and media were already present at the airport, when Acosta checked in at 3am.
Acosta has spent almost his entire career in Latin America, playing for the domestic Costa Rican sides.
The 35-year-old defender started his career way back in 2004 with Santos de Guapiles. Acosta stayed with the club for six years, making numerous appearances. The centre-back then moved on to Alajuelense, with whom he established himself as one of the best available defenders for his country.
Acosta joined Alajuelense in 2010 and was called up to the Costa Rican national team for the first time in 2011. The defender played for two more Costa Rican clubs -- Dorado (on loan from Alajuelense) and Herediano -- before moving to Colombia. Acosta's final club before moving to India was Colombian side, Rionegro Aguilas.
The centre-back has also proven to be invaluable to his national side over the years, having played in the 2014 and the 2018 FIFA World Cups. The defender was especially superb in the 2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match against heavyweights Netherlands, where he helped keep a clean-sheet in regular, plus additional time.
If Acosta's past exploits are anything to go by, East Bengal are getting themselves a great player. The Red-and-Golds finished last season in fourth place and will hope that Acosta's signing helps them move back to the top spot.
Will the signing of Johnny Acosta help East Bengal win another I-League title? Do let us know in the comments below.