Mon. Jul 15th, 2024
Iker Guarrotxena has returned back to FC Goa Squad

FC Goa, on Wednesday, announced the return of midfielder Iker Guarrotxena for the upcoming 2024-25 season. The 31-year-old Spaniard’s presence is expected to be a significant boost for the Gaurs as they aim for glory in the Indian Super League (ISL), Durand Cup and the Kalinga Super Cup.

As the Men in Orange now gear up for the 2024-25 season, Guarrotxena’s return is poised to be one of the most significant signings, bringing both experience and a proven track record in Indian football to the squad.

ISL Experience

Guarrotxena first joined FC Goa in the 2022-23 season, making an immediate impact both on and off the field. In 23 appearances across the ISL and the Kalinga Super Cup, he scored 13 goals, becoming the club’s top-scorer for the season.

His technical brilliance and leadership qualities quickly established him as a fan favourite and a crucial part of the team’s success. After his impressive stint with the Men in Orange, Guarrotxena returned to Spain but soon found his way back to India, joining Mumbai City FC for a short spell last season.

In just six matches for the Islanders, he registered three goals and two assists, playing a pivotal role in their strong performance in the latter half of the ISL League Stage, which concluded with them finishing as runners-up – just above the Gaurs.

Commenting on the signing, FC Goa Head Coach Manolo Marquez said, “We are delighted to welcome Iker back to FC Goa. He’s a complete player with great spirit and character, and is well-acquainted with Indian football.

“With Mumbai City FC last season in Mumbai, he was both decisive and dangerous, scoring crucial goals. His experience and ability, along with the familiarity with our playing style and previous success with the Club, make him a tremendous addition to the squad,” the tactician noted.

Iker Guarrotxena himself shared his enthusiasm as well: “To be back in Goa is not just about returning back to play for a former team – it means a whole lot for me. I am back where I feel at home, and reuniting with several friends who I had to part ways with much earlier than when I would’ve liked.

“This return will be so special – and of course I’m coming back to a team where I believe I can win.

“I’m coming not just because I love the city and the club, it’s also very much because I deeply believe we can lift some trophies in this upcoming season. I am so excited to celebrate something with all Goans,” he added.

Started his Journey in Spain

Born and raised in Bilbao in northern Spain, Guarrotxena brings a wealth of experience from various leagues, including his early career in Spain. Guarrotxena’s senior football debut came in 2011 with CD Basconia in the Tercera Division. His journey then took him through various other clubs, including Arenas Getxo, CD Tenerife, CD Mirandes, and Cultural Leonesa.

In 2018, he ventured abroad, joining Polish top-division team Pogon Szczecin, followed by stints at Greek Super League’s Volos NPS and Australia’s A-League side Western United.

Iker Guarrotxena returned to Spain in 2021 with UD Logrones in the Primera Division RFEF, finishing as the fourth-highest goal-scorer with 14 goals, aiding his team’s promotion play-off quest.

However, it is his time in India – especially with FC Goa – that has truly defined his career in recent years.

The Gaurs have also already announced several other new arrivals such as Aakash Sangwan, Muhammad Hammad and Lara Sharma, while Odei Onaindia, Jay Gupta, Muhammed Nemil, Arshdeep Singh, Rowllin Borges and Mohammad Yasir have extended their terms.

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By TFW

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