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Mohun Bagan’s Fran Gonzalez - There are no easy opponents in I-League

1:59 AM EDT 3/12/20
Fran Gonzalez Mohun Bagan
Mohun Bagan’s Spanish heartthrob suggested that he shares a very good relationship with compatriot Joseba Beitia…

Francisco Gonzalez Munoz has become a household name among Mohun Bagan faithful and has played a huge role in the club’s I-League triumph this season.

Being a defensive midfielder, who played most of the season as a centre-back, Gonzalez is currently the joint top goal scorer (10) for the club with Senegalese forward Papa Babacar Diawara and also the second highest goal scorer in the league, only behind Punjab FC’s Aser Dipanda Dicka (12).

The midfielder’s versatility is what sets him apart from the other foreign players in the Mohun Bagan squad this season. Be it pairing up with Joseba Beitia in the midfield or Francisco Morante in defence, Gonzalez has looked equally comfortable in both the roles.

Speaking to Goal, about his partnership with talisman Beitia, Mohun Bagan’s ‘Boss’ (as he is fondly known as), said, “We have a very good relationship. We became close from the very first day. That’s the best thing. If you take Joseba Beitia and Fran Gonzalez and you make one player, then I think he will be a complete footballer. So when we are on the pitch, I know if I cannot do something he will do it and vice versa. I don’t mind running 3 kms for him and he does not have a problem taking all the balls for me. We have tried to help each other and that is the best thing.”

Gonzalez is enjoying the competitiveness of the I-League and even though Mohun Bagan’s journey has extremely smooth this season, the midfielder suggested that not a single team they faced was easy.

“When I arrived I knew Borja Gomez Perez (East Bengal). I knew him from Real Madrid academy. I asked him about the competition, the level in I-League. He told me that they didn’t win any easy game last season. And believe me, it is like that. We didn’t have any easy game. There are no easy teams. You have to be focused 90 minutes.”

Mohun Bagan did not have the perfect start to their season as they had finished runners-up in both the Durand Cup and Calcutta Football League (CFL) and then were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Sk. Kamal International Cup held in Bangladesh. But when it mattered the most, the I-League, the Green and Maroons looked absolutely flawless.

The Spanish player explained that after joining a new club, the players needed some time to get acclimatised with the conditions, gel with the new teammates and of course getting used to the philosophy of the coach. It was important for them to continue with the process without losing heart in the pre-season despite the results.

“I know when you play for a team like Mohun Bagan the pressure is there to win every game, every trophy. But sometimes the supporters and the management have to realise that if you have to play in a new style it will take time. We didn’t win the Calcutta League, the Durand Cup and even lost in Bangladesh. But even then we continued our process.”

Finally, when asked about his goal scoring prowess and his statistics this season, the Spaniard mentioned that finishing among the top goal scorers in the league is never on his mind.

“I don’t pay attention to that. I am a defensive midfielder so I cannot fight with the strikers for the topscorer gong. When I try to compete with them, I go crazy. When I try to become top scorer, I go crazy so it is better for the forwards do that. I am happy with second place. I score goals because I am hungry for goals.”