ISL 2018-19: “Beating Jamshedpur the best memory in the ISL,” says FC Goa star Edu Bedia
Edu Bedia, FC Goa's creator-in-chief, is a Spanish footballer who has been with the Gaurs since the start of last season. The 29-year-old started at Racing Santander and then went on to play for a host of clubs including Barcelona B, Oviedo and Zaragoza.
Last season, in 18 outings, he piled up a goal and two assists, but in a more advanced role this season, Bedia has amassed five goals and created three more in just 10 fixtures. Sharp with his dribbling and an able passer, Edu Bedia is masterminding a stellar season for FC Goa.
We caught up with him for an exclusive interview and here's all that he had to say about his personal career, FC Goa, the ISL and lots more!
Q. This season, you have been on the forefront of FC Goa's attacks and have scored crucial goals for your team. What changed from the last season?
The coach has given me the responsibility to play in a more advanced position this season. However, irrespective of wherever I play, I consider myself a playmaker and not a goal scorer even though I can help the team with goals.
Q. What's the new role coach Sergio Lobera has assigned to you?
Coach wants me to be close to the two central midfielders to take control of the ball and help keep possession. At the same time I have to be close to the opponent's box [in order] to help Coro.
Q. What do you remember from the crazy Super Cup match against Jamshedpur FC in April?
There is hardly anything worth remembering - neither that match nor the tournament.
Q. You have seen different playing conditions in India - the humidity in Goa, pollution in Delhi, the warmth of Bangalore and the heat of Cuttack/Bhubaneswar. Now, there's football being played under snow in Kashmir. Have you seen a different kind of India in each of these places and does the country surprise you?
I am into my second season now and I have thoroughly enjoyed playing in India. It’s not always possible to go sightseeing with the tight schedule so can’t really talk in depth about the cultural differences.
But every city you see evokes different emotions. Every city in India brings different challenges.
It’s different from Spain in many ways but I am no longer surprised by anything here. The thing that really challenges me is humidity. Humidity is what I handle the worst here.
Q. You joined the ISL because of an alert by Manuel Lanzarote. Could you explain what he said about the ISL and India that made you want to come here? And, what made you continue this season?
I got to a point in my career where I had the need of trying different things and I knew I wanted to move out of Spain. I was looking for something and that’s what Manuel told me - there was an opportunity in India.
I spoke to the coach and felt really confident for the project. I got the chance to come to the ISL and looking back, I feel I made a great choice.
Last year I was very comfortable playing for FC Goa and living in Goa. In addition to that, [Sergio] Lobera made things easier as his way of playing football is something I enjoy and the philosophy he has on the game is very similar to mine. So, when the management spoke to me about extending my stay here, it was a no-brainer.
Q. How difficult is it to progress from Barcelona B to the main team?
I practiced for a few days with the first time but to make it to the first team is nearly impossible. You no longer are competing within an age group or players within a certain area of the country.
You can say it is sometimes even tougher than getting into the national team. Barcelona has some of the best players in the world. Getting into the first team is as tough as it can get.
Q. What has been your favourite moment in the ISL?
I would say when we made the top four after beating Jamshedpur. We had worked seven months to get there and to finally achieve the goal of getting into the playoffs was amazing.
Q. There's a lot of Spanish flavour in the ISL with many players signing up in the 10 clubs. Does it make it easy for you to choose India?
Since there are several Spanish players in India, ISL enjoys a handsome reputation in Spain. That always makes it easier for us to make our mind up.
Q. What about your communication with the Indians? Who's your Indian buddy in the team?
We are lucky to have such a united group and we get along with each other really well. This reflects on the pitch as well.
I have a really good relationship with all the Indian players. We have a great youth set up here in FC Goa and I love it when youngsters from that set up like Liston and Princeton come into the first team.
For me, as a captain, I love to guide these guys. I would say they are the ones I look forward to seeing at the practice every day.
Q. You have a knack of turning up at the most crucial moments and scoring - whether it's against Kerala Blasters in the previous season or Delhi Dynamos. What goes through a player's mind when you are chasing a winner in the last few minutes of a game and you know that if you miss a chance, you might cost your team three points?
I basically try to stay focused throughout the 90 minutes and help the team as much as I can, whether it is through maintaining possession, assisting someone or scoring a goal.
In the games that you mentioned, I would say I was just lucky that I could score and help the team get the points.
Q. FC Goa are not new to coming back from being a goal down. When you are down by a goal or two, what's the mentality of the players?
We have things very clear in our heads; we know our style and believe in it. We believe in keeping possession of the ball and from there we try to create chances. No matter what the result is, we will play like that till the end.
Q. What does the coach tell you after you go down by a goal? Does he say 'it doesn't matter, score two against them.' Or does he ask you all to play cautiously?
As I said before, he asks us to be loyal to our idea and style of playing because we know playing that way we will generate chances.
Q. When has Lobera been the angriest during a half-time talk? And what did he say?
The coach, while talking at halftime, tries to improve details that we don't do right. There's no need to get angry to play better and I feel the coach believes in that.
Q. Overall, what would you say about your experience in India? And what do you want to take away from it?
A lot of people are really positive about the future of the game here in this country. I can sense that they believe that we are onto something big.
That helps me in being positive, personally and professionally. Hope I can continue here for more years here in this country.
Q. Describe Ferran Corominas' finishing.
Coro is surely a very important player for us, but I don’t like to speak about any individual, not even me.
So excuse me if I sound diplomatic, but we all believe in being strong because of each other, because of the collective effort. We are a team that stands out by playing altogether. We are a team.
Q. Real Zaragoza, Barcelona B, Hercules, Munich, Oviedo, Racing - Pick your favourite and tell us why? (FC Goa is not an option!)
Without a doubt, I choose Racing de Santander. It's my hometown team and is the team that gave me the opportunity to be a professional football player. There, I lived my best moments as a player.
Q. You have played second-tier football in both Germany and Spain. How's the level of football in the former compared to your country?
Football in Germany stands out because of the atmosphere and its stadiums but to be fair, in Spain the quality of the game is much higher. Spanish football's quality is the highest in the world.
Q. Playing against Messi/Ronaldo and beating them...Or perfecting skills of Ronaldinho - What's your biggest dream in football? And what do you consider is the biggest moment in your career?
I have trained and played with the best players in the world, but for me, there are two players that are above the others - Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi, and that was the biggest dream - to play against as well as alongside these two.
My best memory is when I scored for Racing in the Europa League.