I-League club East Bengal have bolstered their defense by securing the signing of Spanish defender Marti Crespi for the 2019-20 season. The 32-year-old played for Delhi Dynamos in the ISL last season and made 15 appearances for them.
Crespi will be East Bengal's fourth signing after the Red and Golds gave contract extensions to Jaime Santos Colado, Kassim Aidara, and Borja Gomez Perez. His signing further strengthens the head coach Alejandro Menendez's Spanish core, who has pledged his loyalty to the club until 2021.
Crespi started his career with Mallorca in La Liga and made 13 appearances for them in three seasons. Thereafter, he played for various Segunda Division clubs in Spain, amassing over 150 caps in seven years.
Crespi stepped his first foot in Asia by signing with China League One club Qingdao Hunghai and played around 60 matches for them in two seasons. After a brief stint with another club in China- Nei Mongoi Zhongyou, Crespi came to India and signed for ISL club Delhi Dynamos.
In the 15 appearances, the Spaniard had a staggering passing accuracy of 85.29% and made over 100 clearances. A centre-back passing the ball from behind is very typical in Spanish football and East Bengal signing Marti Crespi might be a hint to it.
He is also adept in scoring goals as he found the back of the net 10 times in 29 appearances in 2016 for Qingdao Huanghai, although he couldn't showcase this ability in last season's ISL.
The AIFF had allowed the I-League clubs to register six foreigners the previous season and the rules of the new season haven't come out yet. If the trend is to be continued, East Bengal have only two spots remaining, and one of them should ideally go to the striker.
East Bengal's social media handles had teased Crespi's signing for a long time and the fans felt extremely happy when the secret was revealed.