Pune City sign Romanian Mutu as marquee footballer

Pune, July 30 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) franchise FC Pune City on Thursday signed former Fiorentina and Chelsea winger Adrian Mutu as its marquee player for this year’s edition of the football league.

The 36-year-old Romanian, who was a part of the Juventus side that won the Serie A title twice in 2004-05 and 2005-06, was also the Coppa Italia top scorer in 2009-10. He last played for Romanian club Petrolul Ploiesti.

“The commitment of the (FC Pune City) management for having me as a part of the club was one of the primary reasons for me to join. This certainly will be one of the biggest challenges of my career so far and I look forward to it,” Mutu, who scored 35 goals in 77 matches for Romania before retiring in 2013, said in a release.

The talismanic winger began his career with Romanian club Arges Pitesti and has also played for big clubs like Inter Milan and Juventus. His prolific form with Parma brought him a 22.5 million euros transfer to Chelsea in 2003.

Pune City also confirmed to have signed Ivory Coast legend Didier Zokora. The 34-year-old, who has 123 games under his belt for Ivory Coast, is the most capped player in the country’s history.

“I am excited to get this chance to play for FC Pune City in ISL. I have played in many countries before and every country has presented a new challenge,” Zakora, a defensive midfielder, said.

“I am sure this journey to India will be exciting and memorable one for me. I hope I can help my team become champions.”

Head coach David Platt said: “Adrian has experience at the highest level and a professional motivation to succeed. I’ve admired him from afar for some years and am very excited at the prospect of us working together for the benefit of FC Pune City.”

Co-owner and Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan was delighted to have the two stalwarts joining his side. “In Mutu and Zokora, we have players with world class experience. I am sure all the players will learn a lot from their presence in the squad, especially about how to manage such long careers in such an intense sport,” said Hrithik.

Pune in the last few weeks have also signed Costa Rican striker Yendrick Ruiz, left back Nicky Shorey and goalkeeper Steve Simonsen from England to strengthen their squad.

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