With the signing of Iranian footballer Iman Basafa, Bengaluru FC has completed all their foreign signings with an aim to resurge in the upcoming ISL campaign under new head-coach Marco Pezzaiuoli. The club had a disastrous season last time around with the performances not in line with the standards of the club. The club parted ways with all their foreigners except Cleiton Silva who has been extended following an impressive season. They have signed Brazilian Alan Costa, Gabonese center-back Yrondu-Musavu-King, Congolese center-forward Prince Ibara, Brazilian midfielder Bruno Ramirez, and Iranian midfielder Iman Basafa for the upcoming edition of the ISL.
Bengaluru FC has always been considered as one of the top clubs in Indian Football. It is known for it’s achievements at the national and continental level, but last season was the first time in their brief history that they failed to reach the knockout rounds in Indian Super League. Carles Cudarat was sacked mid season and Naushad Moosa was appointed as the interim head-coach. The club appointed Marco Pezzaiuoli ahead of their AFC Cup campaign as their new manager. They failed to reach the knockouts in the AFC Cup, but their victory against Maziya showed us what we can expect from them come the new season.
In this article, IFTWC tries to profile the foreign contingent of Bengaluru FC.
1. Cleiton Silva
Cleiton Silva, who is popularly known as “Tagaru Silva” among the Blues, joined the club last season as a ray of hope to end their goal-scoring woes. Despite finishing seventh in the points table, Silva finished the season as one of the leading goal-scorers and playmakers in the ISL with 7 goals and 4 assists. He has scored 3 goals out of 5 games in the AFC Cup as well.
Cleiton Silva started his footballing journey with Madureira – a club that participated in the state league of Rio de Janeiro. Soon after that he landed himself in Thailand and joined Osotspa, which played in the Thai League 1 and played there for a season by scoring 10 goals out of 27 caps. His career took off when the head coach of BEC Tero Sasana signed Cleiton Silva on a three-year deal. In his first season itself, the Brazilian forward won the golden boot by scoring 24 goals and the next season he won the league and the striker of the year award.
After a short unsuccessful stint with Mexican club Delfines, the 34-year-old returned to Thai league to join Muangthong United in the latter half of the season, scored 5 goals and became the first-ever foreigner to score 100 goals in Thai league. Before the start of the 2020-21 season Bengaluru FC acquired the services of Cleiton Silva.
The presence of the Brazilian forward for BFC would be crucial as he is a proven player and can play in different positions in attack. He can play as a center-forward, left-winger, right-winger, and even as an attacking midfielder. The versatility of the player will be useful as he can fit into different positions. Cleiton Silva is not only influential on the field, but also off the field as he being a senior player can serve as a guiding figure for the youngsters in the squad. We can expect him to be one of the leading personalities in the dressing room of Bengaluru FC.