Nigerian striker Ranti Martins, who has been the highest scorer in the last two I-League campaigns, announced his decision to not continue with East Bengal in tears on Thursday morning.
Martins, who had been a livewire for the Red and Golds in the last couple of seasons, is arguably the best striker in the history of I-League and National Football League (NFL).
The former Dempo SC striker is not part of the list submitted by the club's new coach Trevor James Morgan. He joined the Kolkata giants following a short stint at Rangdajied United, after United Sports Club had to loan him out amidst dire financial constraints.
"East Bengal is a closed chapter for me. I didn't expect it from the club. I got this reward after finishing as the highest scorer of the club for two consecutive seasons. I am going back to Nigeria on Friday and have not yet taken any decision about my future," he remarked while addressing the media at his home.
Martins was sobbing while describing the issue and opined that the club has been let down by a number of senior footballers, who revolted after being relegated to the bench.
"This is football and everybody will get a chance to play at some point of time. Things don't go well always. But when it is not going well, you have to put your ego aside. The reserve bench has to support the team," he mentioned while confirming earlier reports of a dressing-room unrest at East Bengal.
Morgan has reportedly shortlisted Salgaocar FC striker Darryl Duffy as East Bengal's primary transfer target but the coach has repeatedly stressed that his reported lack of interest to extend Ranti's contract was only a rumour. However, Ranti has finally spilled the beans and announced his departure after the club officials offered him a steep pay cut.
Ranti's exit from the Kolkata club will certainly trigger an interest amongst the other Indian clubs. It remains to be seen whether the Mohun Bagan hierarchy, who are not impressed with Cornell Glen's recent performances, offers him a deal. On the other hand, his former side Dempo SC are on the cusp of promotion to the I-League and could try to lure him back to his old stomping ground.