It was the 87th match of the Indian Super League 2020-21 when FC Goa faced Mumbai City FC at GMC Stadium, Bambolim. In the first half itself, the Gaurs are down by conceding two goals and a powerful shot came just before halftime. That shot was taken by none other than Glan Martins, where the ball went straight into the net, eventually beating one of India’s best goalkeeper, Amrinder Singh.
The renowned Indian commentator Pulasta Dhar was screaming out of excitement after that sensational goal.
“Glan Martins from distance! Oh, what a shot that is. He was born 20 km from here, comes to Bambolim and sets it on fire for the goal number 200 of this ISL. Picture perfect!” were his exact words.
Before ISL 2020-21 started, ATK Mohun Bagan signed Glan on a two-year deal from Churchill Brothers. Unfortunately, the versatile defensive midfielder played just seven matches under coach Antonio Lopez Habas and did not get a chance even once to feature fully ninety minutes in those matches.
As the January transfer window opened up, FC Goa found the lustrous opportunity to snatch Glan from the Mariners. While on the other hand, Lenny Rodrigues, who wanted to leave, went the other way.
“He is someone that we have been tracking for some time now,” Ravi Puskur quoted in his statement when Glan signed. “He is an exhilarating and talented player who is keen to come here and test himself. His gameplay completely suits the kind of football we look to play.“
Was that statement, made by FC Goa’s Director of Football Ravi Puskur, a bit exaggerated? Not really!
The most unfamiliar fact about the ‘Goan’ Martins is at the age of 17, he went to the United States for the trials at USL Pro Combine in Florida, but he was not up to the mark for the scouts.
Later in 2015, he signed for Sporting Clube de Goa for the Goa Professional League, where he also played ten matches in I-League. He spent 2019-20 season with Churchill Brothers making 14 appearances before moving to ISL club ATK Mohun Bagan.
Glan shared in one of the club statement how the FC Goa signing happened at night time. “It was my agent’s name on my screen with the WhatsApp notification and he asked if I am interested to make my move to FC Goa. I was just so excited and sent ‘Yes’ to him.“
“He just told me to stay awake. He just said if it was to happen, it has to happen in the next few hours, so I should not fall asleep,” said Glan.
Glan made his debut for FC Goa against NorthEast United FC and impressed the Spanish head coach Juan Ferrando. The most talked-about, extraordinary long ranger goal came in the next match against the Islanders.
“Happy to get my goal because I was waiting for my chance. The most important thing is I am happy about the game time I am getting here. I have to keep working hard and improve more with each game,” Martins admitted later in one of the pre-match press conferences.
Glan’s statement headlined how he trusts himself and has a ton more to achieve. But, as FC Goa made it to the playoffs, they faced Mumbai City FC in the semi-finals, but a sheer heartbreak happened for the Gaurs as it was again Glan who missed a penalty in the sudden death.
Partnering with Spaniard Edu Bedia in the midfield, Glan influenced the most, not only in the Indian Super League but also in Asia’s premier club competition AFC Champions League. Being a defensive midfielder, he shared the field alongside Australian James Donachie and Spanish defender Ivan Gonzalez and other foreigners.
“All these foreign players are always there behind you if any mistake happens. They always motivate us to do our best.“
FC Goa successfully grabbed one point in their first-ever match of Champions League against Qatari club Al-Rayyan. Glan caught the eyes of the other team’s coaches in the group as he was very effective in the defensive duties of the team.
The former coaching staff member of FC Barcelona, Chelsea and Ajax, the current Dutch coach Henk ten Cate of Al-Wahda, praised Glan for this impeccable work rate on the field.
“I have seen jersey no. 25 (Glan Martins) and liked him a lot. He is a very good midfielder,” said Henk ten Cate.
This was the same day before the second match against Al-Wahda; Glan spoke about his dream to get into the Indian National team.
“One match doesn’t define me as a good player, but I need to work harder and maintain my good form. I hope I will get the call from Igor Stimac for the National team very soon,” he said.
Juan Ferrando, the head coach, knew how helpful Glan would be in the midfield and gave him a chance in all the ISL and the Champions League matches, mostly started while in some games, he was brought in as a substitute.
“Glan? He always wants to help the team. He is a player with attitude and character,” Ferrando said during the season, which indicates how good has been Glan on the field.
Clocking 1146 minutes in both Indian Super League and Champions League, Martins was the name where all fans wholeheartedly expected to take him to the national team. Recently, his spoken words came true, and he has been included in the 28-member World Cup Qualifiers squad.
“As cliché as it sounds, it’s been a dream for me to represent India. Getting a call-up is a small milestone for me. There is still a lot of room for me to grow. This is an opportunity that I want to make the best out of,” said Glan in his statement.
“We’re extremely pleased for Glan, who has been called up for National team duty. He is deserving this opportunity, and ever since joined FC Goa in January, his professional and balanced approach on and off the field has been impressive,” Ravi Puskur, too expressed his delight. “I’m sure he will add an extra layer of steel to the midfield.“
Glan reportedly joined Goa on a short team deal and recently has extended his contract for three more years. From playing in Goa Professional League to getting elected for the National Team, the tale will surely continue for Super Glan!