ISL 2017: Former Real Madrid defender linked with ATK move
What’s the story?
Two-time champion and the most successful team in ISL, ATK are close to signing ex-Real Madrid defender and Spanish footballer David Mateos for ISL season 4, if reports are to be believed. In a bid to bolster their squad for the upcoming edition of the ISL, the defending champions seek their defensive security in the versatile and able Spanish center back.
Should he join the ISL, Mateos, who last played in the MLS for Orlando City SC, will be ATK’s 3rd foreign signing. The club have already signed Ireland legend Robbie Keane and Portuguese forward Zequinha.
In case you did not know
Coming through the ranks of Spanish giants, Real Madrid’s youth system, Mateos has played over 100 games for their reserve side. However, he could manage only two appearances in the senior team and had to spend time mostly on the sidelines. The 30-year-old defender made his official debut for the Los Blancos in the side’s 2010 UEFA Champions League campaign against AFC Ajax, playing ten minutes in a 4–0 away win.
The defender then spent a couple of years on loan plying his trade in other top-flight leagues before joining MLS club Orlando City SC in July 2015. He went on to make 28 appearances for the Orlando outfit before being waived off his duties in March 2017. Recently, he has been linked with Spanish second division outfit Real Murcia, who are ATK's only competition at the moment.
The heart of the matter
ATK were the second-highest spenders in the domestic draft pick, and under the tutelage of new coach Teddy Sheringham, the franchise are well-placed in the defense of their title. The ATK gaffer sees potential and experience in Mateos, and the Spaniard’s addition may well turn out to be a crucial signing for the Kolkata-based club this season.
Standing at 6ft 3in, the tall and robust Spanish defender is the ideal option to play in the backline. Blessed with good passing abilities, Mateos has the ability to instigate play from the back and makes full use of his height. The defender, having plied his trade in various leagues, will thus bring in a much-needed confidence to the team.
ATK will look to defend their title in what will be the biggest-ever ISL season. The 2017-18 campaign will feature ten teams and host a total of 90 matches in its first stage, a steep increase from the 61-match schedule the ISL had had over its past three seasons. Also, with an added incentive of a guaranteed playoff spot in the AFC Cup for the ISL winner, ATK will be aiming to win the title more than ever.
David Mateos has enough experience under his belt and the 30-year-old can prove to be an inspired signing for the champions. It remains to be seen if the Spaniard’s addition in the lineup amounts to any advantage for the defending champions.