Reigning ISL champions Mumbai City FC on Thursday announced the arrival of defender Rahul Bheke, who joined the club on a two-year contract until the end of the 2022-’23 season.

Bheke is also a seasoned campaigner in the ISL having featured for sides like Kerala Blasters, FC Pune City and most recently Bengaluru FC, making 92 appearances over the last six seasons.

“This is my hometown club and of course, the defending champions. The feeling of representing your city and your people is what makes this game more special for me, and I did not have to think twice when the opportunity to join Mumbai City came about,” Bheke was quoted as saying in a media release issued by the club.

The 30-year-old, who can play across the back line, started his career through the youth sides of Mahindra United and went on to play for Air India, Mumbai Tigers and Mumbai FC before moving to East Bengal in 2015.

Bheke has also scored five times in the ISL, including an extra-time winner in the 2018-19 ISL final leading Bengaluru FC to the title.

Currently, with the Indian National Team’s preparatory camp in Kolkata ahead of the international friendlies, Bheke has been capped 13 times since making his debut for India against Curaçao in June 2019 during the Kings’ Cup in Thailand.

Head Coach, Sergio Lobera described Bheke as an “experienced professional”.

“He’s tremendously versatile in his abilities and he brings the traits of a leader, which is highly regarded in our club. Rahul knows what it takes to be a winner and he has the right mentality.

“We are happy to have him here and I am confident that he can contribute positively at Mumbai City,” said Lobera.