The best of India at the international stage is yet to come — Ivan Gonzalez

FC Goa defender Ivan Garrido Gonzalez expressed his anticipations regarding Indian football and also addressed the team performance in a chat with IFTWC. The Spaniard joined the Gaurs in August this year on a 2-year-deal from Cultural Leonesa. He has been a regular face in the defence mostly since then.

Ivan considers the transition from a cold-weather country like Spain to the humid conditions of India bit easier for him. “Thanks to the pre-season we have been able to adapt quickly to the humidity of Goa.” He added.

Born in Parla, Spain–Gonzalez has spent nearly 6 years at the youth development system of Real Madrid CF. He has also played 99 games for the reserve side of los blancos. He gives the credit to la fabrica for what player he has become today. “Real Madrid has the best football academy in the world. Every day that you are lucky enough to train at Real Madrid is a day of learning. It played a really crucial role in helping me becoming what I am today.” He said.

Head coach Juan Ferrando is often seen displeased at the on-field decisions since the beginning of the tournament. Commenting on that, the 30-year-old said, “These are very tense moments and I think the referees do their job the best they can, but it is true that we feel that we were at the blunt end of some of those decisions. We would have been in a much better position if those had gone our way.”

“That’s not something we want to harp on though. We can’t be thinking about them. As always, we will keep putting our attention on the 90 minutes of each game.”–Ivan sounded very sportive.

FC Goa have so far not been able to deliver upto expectations this season. On this, Ivan quoted, “It is a special league and very competitive. I think there is no difference between playing at home or away from home this season. We are prepared for what is coming and we are putting the grind in our day-to-day work to help us grow as a team.”

The Orange Army houses some homegrown talents like Brandon, Gama, Lenny and Nawaz. The FCG defender seemed very impressed on the development of youngsters across the country. “I think that Indian football in general and the young footballers here have a lot of room for improvement. At the same time, it is a country that is growing in terms of the level of football. The best of India at the international stage is yet to come.” He said.

“The (COVID) situation is a difficult one. There are no doubts about that. It’s hard not to be able to leave the hotel except just training and game, especially when you have a family. However, we know the risks involved and this is the best that can be done at this moment. I hope things get better soon.” Ivan seemed very optimistic.

There have been 9 goals conceded by FC Goa this season. We asked him what major issues he sees in the defence that need to be addressed. To which Ivan answered, “We are a team that tries to play on the front foot and attack. That means that we sometimes leave more space in the defensive zone for the other team to attack. However, most of the goals that we have conceded have been from set-pieces and we need to be more focused on those.”

The Spaniard considers every single opponent different and every game crucial. But he mentions ATK Mohun Bagan FC to be a very sharp and tough side because of the way they set up their game.

“I like the little I have seen of Goa. I would love to explore and experience more in due time. One thing that has caught my eyes though is the hospitable nature of the people of both India and Goa.” Ivan concluded of a cheerful note.

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