ISL: Robert Pires to play for FC Goa; Freddie Ljungberg goes to Mumbai City FC
Arsenal legends Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg had been confirmed to play in the Indian Super League back in July but now the identity of their respective teams are known with Pires joining FC Goa and Ljungberg going to Mumbai City FC, Sportskeeda can reveal.
Five of the eight city franchises had signed the marquee foreigners on their own – Luis Garcia (Atletico de Kolkata), David James (Kerala Blasters), Joan Capdevila (NorthEast United), David Trezeguet (FC Pune City) and Alessandro Del Piero (Delhi Dynamos).
But the Goa and Mumbai franchises opted to sign their marquee player from the IMG-Reliance pool which had the two Arsenal legends.
Chennai, who had replaced Bangalore as the eighth city franchise, have been given additional time to sign the marquee foreigner on their own and they are in talks with Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho.
Both Pires and Ljungberg are hugely popular in India, especially among Arsenal fans. The two attacking midfielders operated on the opposite flanks during Arsenal’s Invincibles season in 2003-04.
Pires has a slightly better CV as he has also won the FIFA World Cup and European Championship with France. The 40-year-old retired in 2011 but occasionally trains with the Arsenal first team squad to keep himself fit.
Ljungberg visited Bangalore last month for a promotional event and is expected to be a big hit off the field as well due to Arsenal’s huge fanbase in Mumbai. The 37-year-old Swede had retired in 2012.
Mumbai City FC, which is co-owned by Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor, are set to announce former Manchester City, Sunderland and Leeds United manager Peter Reid as their head coach with former Mohun Bagan coach Steve Darby being the assistant.
Meanwhile FC Goa are in talks with Brazil legend and former Japan coach Zico to be their head coach.