Chennai, July 23 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC on Monday announced that experienced defender Inigo Calderon has extended his stay at the southern football club by one year.
The 36-year-old Spaniard played in 20 of the club’s 21 ISL games last season, most of them in the right-back position.
A rock in defence and a menace going forward, Calderon helped keep eight clean sheets and scored three goals in Chennaiyin’s journey to a second ISL title.
Inigo’s tremendous work ethic and fitness was duly recognized with the “Fittest Player of the League’ gong, after he’d put in yet another stellar performance in the 3-2 win over Bengaluru FC in last season’s final.
“I am very happy to continue with Chennaiyin FC for one more season. The players, management, owners and most importantly the city and the unconditional love of the fans made the decision of returning an easy one. We are the champions and I am looking forward to the challenge of defending the title. Hard work lies ahead!” said an upbeat Caldi after signing the new deal.
Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory said: “I am hugely delighted to welcome Caldi back. He is a thorough professional and a role model for the entire squad with the way he looks after himself on and off the field. His experience will prove crucial as we look to defend the ISL title. Caldi returning is a great moment for everyone at the club.”
The former Brighton & Hove Albion stalwart will be aiming to pick up from where he left off last season as the club gears up for the new campaign.
Calderon was undoubtedly the best right back of the 2017-18 ISL but also slotted in central defence in the crucial away draws against Delhi Dynamos and Kerala Blasters.
He joins the double assist and goal-scoring duo from last season’s final — Gregory Nelson and Mailson Alves — who signed contract extensions at the end of last season.
Having won the ISL trophy last time out, their contribution along with the likes of Raphael Augusto will be crucial in Chennaiyin’s title defence and a debut outing in the AFC Cup.