Pune: FC Pune City, the team under the Indian Super League franchise got a tremendous bolster to its plans for establishing an academy as homegrown player Mohd. Ashique Kuruniyan heads to La Liga club Villarreal, on a loan for one year.
This is the first time a home grown Indian academy player has been selected by a top Spanish club to ply his trade in Europe.
Excited at the development, FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel added, “This is a testimony of the fact that India is brimming with talent and the right talent needs the right guidance to make the right moves. Ashique has the correct attitude and an appetite for goals.
“He will only get better with his stint in Spain and I won’t be surprised if he goes on to have a longer spell in Spain beyond the one year loan that we have agreed with Villarreal CF. I would like to thank Villarreal for taking this step and I hope this turns out to be first of many such initiatives that we will take together for the growth of Indian football.”
Kuruniyan a resident of Kerala who earlier has represented India at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) championship held in Palestine, is and has reportedly worked his way through the ranks while managing to catch eye balls while he was hand picked for the U-19 team.
The youngster was cast under the spotlight when he represented his country in the Under-18 during the FAM-Frenz Asia Champions Trophy, where he scored a solo goal.
Meanwhile, Javier Tebas, president of La Liga expressed that this was the start in identifying Indian talent from the country and providing them oppurtunities to hone their skills by competing against some of the best in the sport.
“We thank FC Pune City and Villarreal CF for creating a competitive pathway for young talented players. Through ISL, we have already seen a lot of Spanish coaches and players come to India in the last three years. For us at La Liga, it’s heartening to see Indian players making a move to Spain as well. We hope that this inspires many more young talented Indian players to get opportunities in Spain.” added Tebas.
The young player said that he was keen to play well and make a mark, given the opportunity in Spain and later return to India a better player and wishes to play for his team of FC Pune City and India both.
“This is a dream come true. All these years, we would admire 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,” added Kuruniyan.
“Villarreal CF was more than happy to absorb Md. Ashique Kuruniyan in their side because we saw the spark in him. Our coaches will work on him and we will aim to realise his true potential. His development as a player is given and this will only bode well for football in India in general. We thank FC Pune City for facilitating this move and hope this inspires a lot more young talent to make it big in Europe.” said Fernando Roig of Villarreal CF.