In what is being billed as the most high profile signing in Indian Football, Costa-Rica international Carlos Hernandez, who represented his country in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, has signed for Kolkata club Prayag United. Carlos’ signing marks the end to a series of signings by the club which included the highest scorer in I-League last season, Ranty Martins.
Hernandez landed in Kolkata on thursday morning and after seeing the facilities, a convinced Hernandez signed a one-year deal with the club. This is what Hernandez said in press conference organised on 27th of this month
I am really happy to be associated with Prayag United Sports Club. I am looking forward to this new opportunity and challenges. It has indeed been a big decision to move to India, but I feel that there is this huge zest and enthusiasm for football here. I am excited to be part of this excellent team and hope to contribute to the success of the team in the coming season
Carlos Hernandez: Profile
Hernandez is possibly the biggest name signed in recent meomory by an Indian club. His records at club and national level do justice to his billing. He has scored 7 goals in 35 matches for his nation and has also represented Costa-Rica at U-20 level as well as 2004 Olympics. Hernandez was an integral part of the U-20 and the U-23 Costa-Rica teams scoring goals at a prolific rate. In 2006 World Cup Qualifiers Hernandez scored three important goals for his country, two of them against USA , helping the side qualify for the World Cup. Hernandez struggled with an injury in 2007 season which saw him lose his place in the national team. However, he did manage to make a comeback and score a cracker of a goal against France from 25 meters in a friendly in 2010.
Hernandez began his club career with LD Alajuelense, a top side in the Costa Rican national league in the 2001 and ended seasons 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 season with the highest assists to his name. He helped his side to four title triumphs in six seasons at the club. At his peak, he was one of the most talked about players in the Costa Rican league helping Alajuelense win the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 2004.
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In 2007 Hernandez joined Melbourne Victory on loan from Alajuelense. Despite all doubts raised by Melbourne’s fans across Australia on whether an over-weight Hernandez, who had just recovered form an injury would perform, he cemented his place in the team. He was a dependable player, scoring goals as well as providing assists as his team romped to an A-League title. After spending two seasons at loan, Hernandez signed a permanent deal with Melbourne and continued his fine form. Hernandez was awarded the Johnny Warren Medal, given to best player in the A-League, for the 2009/2010 season. His stellar show that season also saw him receive the Melbourne Victory ’s Player of the Year award
- Through balls: Hernandez is renowned for his defense splitting passes to fellow strikers.
- Long Range Scorer: Hernandez posses a venomous kick and has scored a number of goals from long range. His goal from 25 meters against France and a long range goal for Melbourne from 35 meters against Gold Coast, that many believe to be one of the finest goals in A-League, provide testament to his abilities
- Technically Sound and great dribbling skills
Impact on Prayag and Indian Football
Carlos’ entry is likely to act as a catalyst to bring other famous foreign names to India. Already on the radar of Prayag is Australian striker Richard Cardozo who plays in Austria at the moment. Having signed Hernandez and Ranty, Prayag are now a force to reckon with. Gouramangi and Subrata Paul have also signed for them. Prayag definitely look a title contender and Prayag management has made its aim clear to win the Federation Cup and qualify for AFC Cup. Whether they actually win or not is a thing for future but surely, this signing has got world media talk of Prayag and Indian Football.
After Carlos’s arrival , other I-League clubs will also be forced to look for big name players. Carlos’ signing provides an oppotunity to young Indian midfielders like Lester Fernandes, Baldeep Singh, MP Zakeer to learn from a player who has tasted success in multiple levels.
What was being dubbed as a move that could never materialize has just happened. Indian Football fans are eagerly awaiting Carlos to make his debut. The Ranty-Hernandez duo can be a treat to watch and a nightmare for opponents. Carlos’s signing can also draw more crowd to Prayag’s matches which often witness empty stands. TheHardTackle family wishes Hernandez best of luck in India and hopes he can contribute to the growth of Indian Football.