ISL 2018: Kerala Blasters' Rino Anto linked with move back to Bengaluru FC
Fullback Rino Anto could be on the move in the summer, after playing out a disappointing season with Kerala Blasters. Incidentally, Kerala's arch-rivals Bengaluru FC are said to be interested in signing the defender.
Anto has been a mainstay in the Kerala squad for two seasons now, and played a crucial role in the 2016 campaign, when the Blasters finished runners-up, losing out to Atletico de Kolkata (now known as ATK) in the summit clash.
Previously, he had also played for ATK in the 2015 season, making it to the semis with the Kolkata outfit. Throughout this time, Anto had been contracted to Bengaluru FC and was being loaned out to the ISL clubs for the three months.
That changed, when the All India Football Federation decided to hold both the ISL and the I-League at the same time, as Anto secured a permanent move to Kerala Blasters. However, after a disappointing season, the right-back is in talks with his former club Bengaluru FC, it has been learnt.
However, even if the move does take place, Anto will play for Kerala Blasters in the upcoming Super Cup, where the blasters are set to face off against second-placed I-League side NEROCA FC in the Round of 16 stage. The 30-year-old will only be able to play for Bengaluru once the summer transfer window opens.
Anto himself has had a mixed season, as he made only 13 appearances out of the 18 matches that Kerala Blasters played in the recently concluded ISL season. However, the right-back has shown excellent passing ability (with 70.87% passing accuracy).
Incidentally, a move to Bengaluru may not earn Anto a fixed spot in the starting XI, due to the presence of Rahul Bheke, who has been on superb form this season. If this move does take place, it will be interesting to see who coach Albert Roca uses.