Indian Football: I-League champions Chennai City retain star striker Pedro Manzi
I-League champions Chennai City have retained their star striker Pedro Javier Manzi. Under the new contract, the Spaniard will stay at the club until 2022, the club said through their social media account on Friday.
The defending champions have retained most of their core foreign squad that won them the title last season. Manzi is the third foreigner to renew his contract after his country mates defender Roberto Eslava and midfielder Sandro Rodriguez.
It is learned that their Spanish goalkeeper Nauzet Santana will also sign on the new contract very soon. The tussle between Chennai City and FC Pune City over the signing of Nestor Gordillo is now in All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) court.
Even if Gordillo doesn’t sign for them, Chennai City have already acquired a replacement when they signed Katsumi Yusa immediately after the conclusion of last season.
Manzi, a first-timer in Indian football, blew the league by storm when he scored a hat-trick in his first match against Indian Arrows. He went on to score three more hat-tricks and most probably the only player in the I-League history to score four hat-tricks in a single season.
The Uruguay-born Spaniard scored 21 goals in 19 matches and became the joint top scorer of the league along with Willis Plaza of Churchill Brothers.
Manzi, along with Rodriguez and Gordillo, formed a formidable trio in Chennai City’s upfront that helped to tore every opponent apart. The trio scored a combined number of 38 goals, more than 80 percent of what Chennai City (48) have scored in their campaign.
The 30-year-old donned the role of a perfect finisher and hardly missed an opportunity to find the net. He scored some attractive goals in the league, the best of them was against Aizawl in an away match. Manzi scored through a magnificent volley from the halfway line that went over the goalkeeper who was way ahead of his line.
Even after the conclusion of the I-League, Manzi maintained his ferocious form and scored another hat-trick against FC Pune City that helped Chennai City to reach the last eight. They were beaten by eventual winners FC Goa in the semi-final.
As Chennai City is set to play in I-League next season, we would surely expect more ‘Manzi Magic’ in the future.