FC Goa are popular for their possession based football. Since the inaugural season of the Indian Super League, Goa have always been known for their consistent performance. In 2014, after the foundation of club, Brazilian legend Arthur Antunes Coimbra, popularly known as Zico was appointed as the head coach. From 2002 to 2006 & 2011 to 2012, Zico was in charge of Japan and Iran National Football teams respectively. His tenure at the two National teams turned out to be pretty successful for his coaching career & as a result, his appointment saw huge excitement in Indian football fans. Under Zico, FC Goa were runnerups of 2015 ISL season. The mixture of Indian players & foreign players at the club was successful in his stint. Let’s have a glance at the 5 best foreign signings under him :
1) Gregory Arnolin –
The first ISL International Player Draft was held at Mumbai on 21st August 2014. In the sixth round of the draft, 32-year-old Centre-Back Gregory Arnolin was chosen. The 6’2 tall defender made 15 appearances in first season of ISL, where he scored 2 crucial goals for the club. His ability to read the game & tackle with opponent turned him as the main man in defence with Narayan Das, which also helped the team to keep 7 cleansheets in the first season. He was retained in the second as well as in the third season of ISL where he played 24 matches in two seasons. With no doubt, the signing of Frenchman was the best foreign signing under Zico which definitely left a mark in the history of league.
2) Leo Moura –
All time fan favorite Brazilian Leo Moura cannot be forgotten in this list. In the run to the final of ISL 2015, Leo was the hottest prospect in the team who performed brilliantly in the whole league. Along with Jonathan Lucca & Jofre, a versatile midfield partnership was seen helping forwards & covering defence. In 17 appearance for the club, he scored 2 goals & made 8 assists. Zico has always been an admirer of Leo’s exceptional style of play, and tried to retain him for the 2016 ISL season but Santa Cruz Futebol Club refused to release him.
3) Lucio –
On 7th June 2015, the 37-year-old Brazilian Lucimar Ferreira da Silva, commonly named as Lucio, who won the FIFA World Cup in 2002 was signed as marquee signing for the season from Palmeiras. Lucio, having solid experience in International football, captained the team. Lucio played 14 matches for the club in 2015.
Zico preferred the 3-5-2 formation, where Lucio & Gregory made a strongly guarded defensive partnership at the back with the support of Raju Gaikwad. His creative distribution, pace & ability helped the team to push forward more, making it easy for the wingers to explore the flanks. After the season he was retained again but featured in just 5 matches yet making a strong impact in the defence.
4) Andre Santos –
The Brazilian International was another right pick for Goa in 2014 as a winger. Andre played 10 league games for FC Goa and scored four stunning goals. Zico trusted him and as expected he partnered up with Mandar Rao Dessai in the wings and attacking midfield, providing 4 assists. Andre also got featured in the ISL playoffs during the same season but remained goalless in both semi-final legs without making it to the finals.
After the end of the league, he moved to Brazilian second tier team Botafogo.
5) Jofre Mateu –
Shortly after signing Lucio in 2015, on 23rd June Goa acquired the services of Jofre, the FC Barcelona youth system player who formerly played for Atletico de Kolkata in 2014. He made 12 & 11 appearances in the 2015 & 2016 ISL seasons respectively. Being a central-midfielder, he was a defensive player when called by defenders & also an attacking-midfielder to provide assists to forwards. The signing of Jofre was a fruitful one as he scored 6 goals & provided 7 assists playing for the club.