FC Pune City kid Kuruniyan to play for Villarreal in Spain
FC Pune City academy become the first Indian club whose home grown player will be playing for Spanish Primera division side Villarreal. Mohammad Ashique Kuruniyan, Pune City academy product has been selected by LaLiga club Villarreal CF to play in their third team on loan.
Kuruniyan, who has represented India at both the Under-19 as well as Under-18 levels, naturally play as a winger but can also play anywhere from where he can move forward. He had scored a solo goal in the FAM-Frenz Asia Champions Trophy.
Kuruniyan hails from Mallapuram in Kerala, and it’s a big leap forward for the FC Pune academy star to be loaned to team like Villarreal. He is looking forward to interact with his new team-mates in Spain, and training in a new and improved facility would only do help him grow in his game.
Kuruniyan said,“This is a dream come true. All these years, we would admire these top clubs and their players from afar, but thanks to FC Pune City and Villarreal, I will get a chance to play at one of the most respected clubs in Spain.”
“I enjoy dribbling and crossing and I normally play as a left-winger. Internationally, I have always looked up to Neymar and Angel Di Maria.” He added.
“The thing I am most excited about is how I will interact with their players, their coaches, and I’m also looking forward to seeing what facilities they have to offer. I have never been to Europe, though I have been to countries like Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand and Palestine with the Under-19 team.”
Villarreal’s president Fernando Roig and LaLiga president Javier Tebas both are happy with Kuruniyan’s selection, and they claimed it as part of a larger plan of identifying young talents from India, and giving them a chance to play abroad.
“Villarreal CF was more than happy to absorb Ashique Kuruniyan in their side because we saw the spark in him,” Roig said. “Our coaches will work on him and we will aim to realise his true potential. His development as a player is given and this will only bode well for football in India in general.”