Villarreal CF and FC Pune City, in the Indian Super League (ISL), have come to an agreement for the loan of academy player, Ashique Kuruniyan, who will train with the Yellows from now on, both in the Vilarreal C team in the Third Division as well as in the CD Roda team in the Regional Preferente league. This is the first time an Indian academy footballer has been selected by a Spanish club. Ashique Kuruniyan usually plays on the wing, but can also play up front.
The youngster was born in Kerala and has already caused quite a stir in the football world, as he represented the India U19 national team in the AFC U19 Championships in Palestine. Prior to this, Ashique also represented India U18s in the FAM-Frenz Asia Champions Trophy, where he scored a superb solo goal that thrust him into the spotlight.
Ashique assured he is keen to make a mark in Spain and then come back as a better player, to play for both India and FC Pune City . “It’s a dream come true for me. For years, we have admired these top clubs and their players from afar but, thanks to FC Pune City and Villarreal, I will get a chance to play at one of the most respected clubs in Spain”.
Villarreal CF President, Fernando Roig, also expressed his satisfaction concerning the agreement: “We’re very satisfied to bring Ashique Kuruniyan here as we believe he is a great talent. I’m sure that he is going to improve as a player here and this is only going to bode well for Indian football in general. We thank FC Pune City for facilitating this move and hope this inspires many more Indian youngsters to be successful in Europe”.
For his part, the CEO of FC Pune City, Gaurav Modwel, said: “This is a testimony to the fact that India is brimming with talent; the right talent needs the right guidance to make the right moves. Ashique has a good attitude and an appetite for goals. He will only get better during his stint in Spain and I won’t be surprised if he goes on to have a longer spell there beyond the one year loan that we have agreed with Villarreal. I would like to thank Villarreal for taking this step and I hope this turns out to be the first of many such initiatives, that we will collaborate in, for the growth of Indian football”.
Lastly, LaLiga President, Javier Tebas, also wanted to emphasize that this is justthe beginning: “We thank Villarreal CF and FC Pune City for creating a competitive pathway for young, talented players. Through the ISL, we have already seen a lot of Spanish coaches and players come to India in the last three years. For us, it’s heartening to see Indian players making the move to Spain as well”.
About FC Pune City:
FC Pune City is an Indian Super League football club based out of Pune, Maharashtra. The club is co-owned by ‘The Rajesh Wadhawan Group’ and Bollywood actor, Hrithik Roshan. The club was founded in 2014 and its home ground is the ‘Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex’ in Balewadi, Pune. The club is committed to making a difference, not just at the senior level but also at the grassroots level of football in India.