FC Goa have completed the permanent signing of Syrian international centre-back Fares Arnaout on a one-year deal. The 25-year-old becomes the Club’s third new arrival this off-season, following hot on the heels of Alvaro Vazquez and Arshdeep Singh.
This, though, won’t be his first visit to India. The defender was part of the Syrian squad that played in the 2019 Hero Intercontinental Cup where he started against India in a 1-1 draw.
Speaking to fcgoa.in following the completion of all formalities Arnaout said, “I am thrilled at the prospect of playing for FC Goa. It’s a big challenge for me – to come to India and show people what I am all about and I’m already excited thinking about the start of the new season.
“I have only heard and seen on screen, the Goans’ passion for football and it gives me a sense of pride to be given the opportunity to represent them. I will do my utmost to bring success to the Club.”
FC Goa’s Director of Football, Ravi Puskur also expressed delight at having secured the signing. He said, “We’re very pleased to have brought Fares on board. We cast our net far and wide this season with the Asian player and when Fares’ profile was sent across, there were unanimous agreement in getting him on board. He’s comfortable on the ball, robust in his style of play and will be an ideal complement to the skills of the other players we have on our books. His recent successes at the continental level and capped at the senior level by his country only further strengthens the decision behind signing him.”
Arnout brings continental pedigree
Arnout has already achieved much in his professional playing career which began with Damascus-based Al Jaish Sports Club (Army) in 2017/18 – winning the Syrian Cup, Syrian Premier League and Syrian Super Cup in his first season with the Club. In the years to come, he would establish himself as a key member of the squad – winning the Syrian League again the following season in 2018/19.
During this spell he also starred in Al Jaish’s AFC Cup campaigns, making 15 appearances over 3 seasons in the continental competition where the Syrian side would make it to the West Asia Zonal Semi-Finals in 2019. After three successful seasons with the 17-time Syrian champions, he moved to Bahrain’s Al Muharraq in February 2021. At Al-Muharraq, more success awaited Arnaout as he helped the side win the AFC Cup in 2021. He was last contracted with Bahranian side Manama Club, for whom he played the 2021/22 season.
On the international front, the youngster has 10 caps to his name after making his debut in the 2019 Hero Intercontinental Cup in India. His latest outings for his country came in June 2021 in the FIFA Arab Cup.
The former captain of the Syria U23 side also led his side to the quarter-finals of 2020 AFC U-23 Championship. The tournament saw Syria brave the odds to qualify from a group that had Asian powerhouses in Saudi Arabia, Japan and Qatar. They eventually bowed out of the tournament in the quarter-finals, losing to Australia in extra time.