Igor Angulo, 36, feels that he has a lot to offer FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL) and the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Champions League. With star stiker Ferran Corominas leaving the Gaurs after three phenomenal seasons laden with goals, the onus will be on Angulo as the club takes a new direction.
New coach Juan Ferrando will count upon Angulo's prolific form in front of goal to help the club navigate the challenges this upcoming season is likely to throw up. FC Goa will be participating in the AFC Champions League in what is a historic occasion for a club from India. Angulo hopes to provide his wealth of experience to his teammates in their Asian sojourn.
"It was one of the strong points to sign for Goa, to play in the AFC Champions League. I am a very competitive player, I like to play against the best clubs and this competition will give me what I want. Of course, playing behind closed doors will be strange for everybody but it will be the same condition for all the clubs.
"I'm going to be one of the oldest players in the team. So I can give the team my experience. I have played every year without a break. Any problem you may have, I have the experience that some young players don't have," he stressed.
The Spaniard began his senior playing career with Basconia in 2002 and since has played in the La Liga with Athletic Bilbao, from where he also had an on-loan stint with French side Cannes. From 2013, Angulo moved abroad to play football with clubs in Cyprus, Greece and with Polish side Gornik Zabrze in the last four years.
"I was so comfortable in Poland and the fans loved me so much. When you are so comfortable at one place, you have the tendency to relax and I didn't want that to happen. I'm 36 years old but I feel that I am in the best moment of my career. My numbers don't lie. In the last four years, I scored almost 100 goals.
"I wanted to take this challenge. It's going to be the first time I am playing outside Europe. So it's going to be a good challenge for me and that's why I decided to move. It was the best option to keep myself motivated," he explained.
Narrowing down to his current club now, he admitted that the club's playing style as well as the Spanish influence in the team helped him finalise his move to FC Goa.
"Goa likes to play with the ball on the ground and attack all the time. I think it is a kind of Spanish style also. So I think I can adapt to this style than any other style. Goa was always like this so far. They have had some new players and now a new coach (Juan Ferrando) but this philosophy is not going to change.
"It was a strong point that the coach is also a Spaniard and also I spoke with (Carlos) Pena as we were together in the U-21 national team. So it was easier for me to make the move. I had a lot of options in India and Europe also and if I chose Goa, it was because it was the best for me and I can also help the club.
"I know that we have very talented Indian players. I was speaking to the coach. The young players will be very important. Of course, the foreigners are going to be important but the Indian players could also be the key for our success."
Angulo also offered his views with regard to the ISL season 7 being played behind closed doors in Goa due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and stated that the Gaurs could take advantage of playing the season at 'home' in their quest to landing their first ISL title.
"It's going to be stressful to play only at one place, in Goa. So it's going to be something different but the whole world is going through this difficult situation and we have to adapt as soon as possible. All the clubs will be in the same situation. So we cannot have any excuses.
"We are not going to have the power of our fans behind us but we have to keep going. Playing in our own city can be the key for us. I think we can be a little bit more comfortable playing in our own city. So we have to take advantage of this," he continued.
"Only one team can win the ISL. We were always in the semi-finals or finals. I think we are the only team to reach the semi-finals or finals for five seasons. So we have to keep going. The semi-finals and final is going to be in February or March (2021). So we don't have to look too much in the future. Game by game, we have to first qualify for the semi-finals and after that, every game is going to be crucial."