Hyderabad FC had a rather indifferent campaign in the previous season of the Indian Super League. However, with coach Manolo Marquez taking over at the helm, Aridane Santana was one of the first few players to sign for the club.
Having played for Odisha FC in the previous season, Santana smashed 9 goals from just 14 appearances for the club. This time, however, he finds himself in the thick of things with Hyderabad FC, an assignment he is certainly looking forward to.
Sportskeeda spoke to Aridane Santana about his ambitions for the upcoming season in an exclusive interview.
Q. This is your second assignment in the ISL. How excited are you to begin your journey with Hyderabad FC?
Aridane Santana: Yes, I previously worked with Odisha FC but now, I am very happy to join Hyderabad FC. I am excited to meet my new teammates and cannot wait for the start of the new season. We are going to work together as a team and will do everything we can on the field to try and achieve the club's objectives this season.
Q. How would you describe your attributes as a forward (speed and pace or the lone striker who gives the defenders a run for their money physically)?
Aridane Santana: I am a striker who loves to constantly be involved in the action. I am happy to fall back and help my defense but my biggest impact will be in attack. I work hard on my positioning and try to be in the right place at the right time. I hope to contribute to a lot of goals to the side.
Q. You mentioned that you knew Manolo Marquez while joining the club. What are your expectations of him for the upcoming season?
Aridane Santana: I know Manolo Marquez from my playing time in Spain where I faced him on a few occasions. Manolo is not just a popular coach but also a top coach in Spain.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your time in Tenerife and how you helped them to get promoted?
Aridane Santana: The 2013/14 season is one of the most memorable ones of my career. It was a great season not just for me individually but for the whole team, that trained hard every day. There was a lot of hard work that we put into that season behind the scenes and we surely deserved our promotion to Segunda Divison.
Q. You have played one season in the ISL with Odisha FC, how different is football in India compared to Europe?
Aridane Santana: The quality in the leagues obviously varies but the biggest difference is how teams control the matches. There is less space to work with in this league, which makes it slightly tougher. But with teams equal in quality, there are swings in momentum during games, which makes the ISL that much more entertaining.
Q. The teams you have played for, you have managed to guarantee goals. Is there any secret to your success?
Aridane Santana: I do not have a secret as such. It is my love for the game and the hard work I put in that has helped me reach this stage of my career. It is also important to surround yourself with good players who you can learn from. When in a group, knowing your limitations as a player and playing to your strengths is crucial for the success of the team and also the individual.
Q. What are three things that you enjoy doing outside of football?
Aridane Santana: Outside the game, I love to spend time with my family and friends, who have been helpful in advancing my career. I like an occasional bike ride while the beach and the cinemas also excite me.