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I-League: East Bengal rope in former Delhi Dynamos centre back Marti Crespi

6:42 PM IST 03/07/19
Marti Crespi Delhi Dynamos
The Kolkata side have added the former Spain U20 international as a defensive reinforcement...
East Bengal have have completed the signing of Spanish defender Marti Crespi ahead of the 2019-20 season of the I-League, the club announced on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old started his professional career with Mallorca and spent three seasons on loan at Elche, Granada and Xerez. He went on to join the Spanish top division side, Racing Santander in 2013, before moving onto CE Sabadell FC in Segunda B.

The defender then shifted base to China, representing the likes of Qingdao Huanghai and Nei Mongol Zhongyou, before taking the decision to come to India with Delhi Dynamos. Crespi has also played for the Spanish national team in the U-19 and U-20 categories.

Crespi joined Indian Super League (ISL) side Dyanmos last season. He made 15 appearances and helped keep his side only two clean sheets in a season where the Dynamos failed to make it to the playoffs, finishing eighth with eighteen points from as many games under former Barcelona youth coach Josep Gombau.

He returns to India for a second successive season, but this time trades the ISL for the I-League. Also, he links up with another Spanish coach in the form of Alejandro Menendez, who was the head coach of Real Madrid 'B' during the time Jose Mourinho was in-charge of the senior setup.

East Bengal are aiming to win their first ever I-League. Under Menendez last season, they finished runners-up to Chennai City. The Red and Golds have retained Borja Gomez, with whom Crespi will look to form a solid central defensive partnership in the upcoming season.

The senior team begin their pre-season training in the city on 10 July. They have also extended the contracts of three academy graduates - Prakash Sarkar, Manoj Mohammed and PC Rohlupuia until the end of the 2022-23 season.