ISL: Atletico de Kolkata announce sports director, pondering on marquee player

Insisting that the team would be seen in a more 'professional avatar' in the upcoming season, reigning champions Atletico de Kolkata on Wednesday announced the appointment of the sports director and a new foreign recruit ahead of the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament's domestic draft in Mumbai on July 10.

ISL: Atletico de Kolkata announce sports director, pondering on marquee player

Kolkata: Insisting that the team would be seen in a more 'professional avatar' in the upcoming season, reigning champions Atletico de Kolkata on Wednesday announced the appointment of the sports director and a new foreign recruit ahead of the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament's domestic draft in Mumbai on July 10.

Although the marquee player for the side is yet to be chosen, the team has time till July 31 to decide on it.

With a delay in the announcement of marquee player, there have been questions raised on who is the authority to recruit him as the team also has on board Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia as consultant.

"I take all the decisions about the team. I'm the head coach," Antonio Lopez Habas told the reporters during his first media interaction ahead of the second season.

"We are looking at different options and we have time till July 31 to announce. We will take the decision in due course. We are going to see the Indian draft and then the final decision will be taken," he added.

Habas also informed that the team management took interviews of Indian coaches to appoint his deputy.

Team's co-owners Sanjiv Goenka, Harsh Neotia, Utsav Parekh and former India captain Sourav Ganguly echoed that the head coach's word would be the last word.

"Coach has the final say in taking the decision. He takes all decisions on the technical aspects in the team. Bhaichung is an advisor to us but the authority of the decision belongs to them (the coach and the sports director)," co-owner Sanjiv Goenka clarified.

The co-owners also said that they were looking forward to retaining the trophy.

"I thank you all for the overwhelming support last season. This time the responsibility is even bigger and our expectation is even higher," Goenka told reporters.

"ATK will be seen in a more professional avatar from this season, and first step towards this is appointing our sports director Alberto Marrero."

Marrero has previously worked with ATK's partner team and La Liga giants Atletico Madrid as sports coordinator for last two years.

ATK also announced the signing of Valmiro Lopes Rocha (Valdo), former player of Levante and Osasuna.

"Valdo is an attacking player who can play in both wings," Goenka said, adding that they have so far announced 18 names and are looking forward to the domestic players drafts in Mumbai.

The team co-owners today welcomed their ISL-winning head coach Habas for his second stint.

"Fundamentally the coach believes we have an outstanding team. We think it's a well balanced and more well thought out team. Eventually our performance will speak," Goenka said.

Like last year, the red and whites would have a pre-season three weeks' training in Spain at the home ground of partners Atletico Madrid next month, before returning home for a two-week practice at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan.

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