Indian Super League (ISL) side NorthEast United announced on Friday that Uruguayan striker Federico Gallego has been brought back for a season after his initial loan deal, keeping him at the club till the end of the 2019-20 season. Gallego was one of the standout performers for the Highlanders in the last season with 4 goals and 5 assists in the 20 games he featured for the Guwahati-based side.
Gallego made his debut for Uruguayan side Institución Atlética Sud América in 2010. Since then he has played for several clubs across South America. In 2017, he joined the Uruguayan Primera Division side Boston River on a free transfer and later moved to the ISL side in 2018 on a loan with an option of purchase.
Gallego scored for the highlanders in his very first official appearance. It was a home fixture against FC Goa which ended 2-2 at fulltime. Gallego kept on scoring goals week-in week-out and combined with full precision alongside the other striker Bartholomew Ogbeche. He was one of the pioneers who helped the Whites go register their best ever ISL performance as they finished fourth in the standings. Gallego had to part with the club on a gloomy note after his loan deal ended. He was subbed off in the big second-leg semi-final tie against Bengaluru in Bengaluru after sustaining a grave injury.
Executive director NorthEast United, Priya Runchal said,
“Not only is Federico one of the most talented players to play for the Club, he is also one of the most professional individuals I have ever come across. His commitment to the team and his teammates is remarkable. I still remember when he suffered the horrific injury during the second leg of the semi-final match, we had rushed to meet him at the hospital. His first question when he saw us, and this was before they had a chance to give him painkillers, was what was the final score. We are delighted that he has recovered fully and that he is back where he belongs – at NorthEast United.”
“The support from the Management and the fans after the injury has been overwhelming. I loved playing in India last year and look forward to joining my teammates for the preseason and prepare for ISL 6. I am confident that not only can we replicate last season’s performances, but are capable of even going a step further.” said Gallego after signing his contract extension.
The NorthEast United management has been going very slow with their new players and an out and out forward was missing in the line-up and that is the void Gallego may just fill. Gallego's early return may pave the way for the gameplay of United to revolve around the Uruguayan throughout the season.