Spanish attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzarote will lead two-time Indian Super League champions ATK in the upcoming season, the club announced on Thursday.
The 34-year-old had an impressive last season with FC Goa, clocking over 1500 minutes on the field with 13 goals and six assists to his name.
Lanzarote will have Nigerian 35-year-old forward Kalu Uche and Brazilian 31-year-old striker Everton Santos for company in the team’s attacking line-up.
ATK have retained 30-year-old English centre back John Johnson, who has a good understanding of Indian conditions having spent five seasons at Bengaluru FC before switching to ATK in 2017.
In all, ATK have signed six new foreigners which also include Andre Bikey, who will be reuniting with coach Steve Coppell for the third time after playing under him at Reading and Jamshedpur FC.
The 2014 and 2016 champions looked out of sorts in the last season, finishing ninth with 16 points from 18 games.
But this season ATK have made their intentions clear by roping in Coppell, who guided Kerala Blasters to a runners-up finish in his first season, and took debutants Jamshedpur FC to a creditable fifth place finish in 2017.
“I am eagerly waiting for the start of the tournament. We have had a fruitful preseason in Spain where we got our chance to test all our players and now it is time to prove our mettle on the stage that matters,” Coppell said on the sidelines of the team’s jersey launch.
Of the 19 Indians in the squad, ATK have retained six from the fourth season – Debjit Majumdar, Prabir Das, Eugenson Lyngdoh, Jayesh Rane, Komal Thatal and Hitesh Sharma.
Coppell will have I-League winning Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen as his deputy.
ATK will take on Kerala Blasters FC in the ISL 2018 opener at the Saltlake Stadium on September 29.
Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharya, Avilash Paul and Debjit Majumder.
Defenders: Aiborlang Khongjee, Andre Bikey, Arnab Mondal, Gerson Vieira, John Johnson, Lalhmangaihsanga ‘Sena’ Ralte, Prabir Das and Ricky Lallawmawma and Ankit Mukherjee.
Midfielders: Cavin Lobo, El Maimouni Noussair, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Hitesh Sharma, Jayesh Rane, Komal Thatal, Malsawmzuala, Manuel Lanzarote Bruno, Pronay Halder and Sheikh Faiaz.
Forwards: Balwant Singh, Everton Santos and Kalu Uche.