An Indian has finally signed a pro-contract with a club in one of the top five European leagues. In what is brilliant news for Indian football, Ishan Pandita has put pen to paper on a one-year contract with La Liga club CD Leganes.
While the 18-year-old has signed for the main team, he will initially turn out for the U19s in the Division de Honor Juvenil, which is the top tier of the Spanish league system for youth players. Leganes sit in 11th place in the La Liga, having drawn with Atletico Madrid and with wins over Deportivo La Coruna, Granada and Celta Vigo.
“It’s a great feeling; it’s a big moment for me. But there’s a long way to go,” Pandita was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
The striker grew up in the Philippines before he moved to Bengaluru in 2009. He was part of Almeria’s youth system for a couple of years and had trials with Spanish clubs, eventually getting picked up by Leganes.
“My first goal is to get some game-time and score a few goals. If I can progress from the youth team and debut for the first team before the end of the season, that will be great,” he added.
Ishan admitted that his overall game had grown since the move to Europe – having been exposed to better coaching, training methods and standard of play. But he is still, according to the club, a ‘rough diamond’.
“What impressed us most about Ishan were his physical attributes and ability to score goals.It’s too early to say when he will break into the main team – he is a young player, a rough diamond to be worked on,” academy director Jorge Broto Benavente told the Times of India.
The 2016-17 season of the Division de Honor Juvenil has already begun and Leganes sit 8th in group V of the league.
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