Image courtesy: sportstarlive.com
Bengaluru lad, Ishan Pandita, created history by becoming the first Indian footballer to sign a professional contract with a Spanish La Liga club.
The 18 year old footballer now has a one-year deal with the newly promoted CD Leganes which holds the 11th position in La Liga. He also received the No 50 blue and white striped jersey by the club’s owner and Vice-president Felipe Moreno at the Estadio Municipal de Butarque stadium in Leganes.
Ishan will start with the club’s U-19 squad, although he has signed with the main team and stated, “It’s been a tough, hard three years here in Spain but at the end, it was all worth it,” in an interview with TOI. It feels great to be the first Indian to go down this path. Right from the moment I decided to take a break from studies till now, I never gave up on my dream.”
According to the CD Leganes academy director Jorge Broto Benavente, “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”.
Ishan Pandita was brought up in the Philippines before moving base to Bengaluru in the year 2009. He shifted to Spain two years ago and was a part of UD Almeria’s youth system where he had trials at Getafe and was pretty close to signing with them. Unfortunately, when that did not work out he started preparations to sign for a La Liga club when eventually “Leganes showed interest”, he stated in an interview with The Hindu.
He also mentioned how he is “going to work really hard” for the 2016-17 season of the Division de Honor Juvenil, which has already begun, and that “it’s a highly competitive league, with all the top clubs like Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid involved”.