Alvaro Vazquez, the latest signing of FC Goa, made his intentions clear in his first press conference since his departure from the Indian Super League side (ISL) Kerala Blasters — trophies.
“What we’re looking to work towards is to try and win trophies – not individual trophies, but collective trophies. That’s the primary focus and I’m pretty certain that if we get up to those levels, we’re winning trophies as a team,” he told the press.
The 31-year-old had an impressive season with Kerala Blasters last year with eight goals and had the joint highest shots on target (32) in 23 matches.
Against NorthEast United, he made headlines with a jaw-dropping hit from beyond the half-way mark (59 metres) to score the longest goal in the history of ISL.
With him leading the charge in attack alongside Argentine Jorge Pereyra Diaz, the club reached the final for the third time, but lost to Hyderabad FC in the penalty shootout, becoming the only club to lose the final on three occasions.
FC Goa, on the other hand, has had a slightly different trajectory in terms of trophies. The Gaurs have lost in the finals twice, but have won the League Winners Shield, the Durand Cup and the Indian Super Cup once each.
It became the first ISL side to play in the AFC Champions League. That team had the current head coach, Carlos Pena as a player, alongside another Spaniard Vazquez had history with back in Spain — Ferran Corominas, popularly known as ‘Coro’.
Coro and Vazquez shared the dressing room for Espanyol when the team was being managed by the current manager of Paris Saint-Germain, Mauricio Pochettino.
“I remember when I mean back when we shared a dressing room was that he was a player who played more through the wing, who would appear more through the inside spaces, had a lot of he was very quick and was a player who came into the box quite a bit and think, and I think he demonstrated that in India.”
Corominas, Vazquez’s former teammate, in action for FC Goa in the 2018/19 season of the Indian Super League. – THE HINDU
Coro went on to become one of the most successful foreign footballers in the history of the league, scoring 48 goals in three seasons for FC Goa.
Having left the league two years ago, he still remains the third-highest goal scorer in ISL, behind Bartholomew Ogbeche (53 goals) and Sunil Chhetri (51 goals).
“I want to help the team as much as possible. Hopefully I can try and reach the levels that he did. I’m just trying to do the best for my team to try and help Goa win as many titles as possible,” Vazquez said.
Vazquez is expected to fill in the void left by Goa’s No. 9 Jorge Ortiz, who ended the previous season as Goa’s highest goal scorer (in the 2021-22 season), but left the club for Chinese Super League club Sichuan Jiuniu.
FC Goa had a tumultuous season last year, with its head-coach Juan Ferrando shifting allegiances to ATK Mohun Bagan mid-season as the club plumetted into the bottom half of the table.
The semifinalist in the 2020-21 season ended its campaign third from bottom, with 12 points less that the previous season. That is something Vazquez’s attacking prowess will aim to turn around as the club looks for greener days in the upcoming season.
The former Spain U21 International adds to the list of Spaniards already in the squad, alongside Edu Bedia and the head coach and former Goa player, Pena.
“I think it’s going to be big because obviously that the coach has already played in this league and knows it quite well.
“Also, the fact that there’re a lot of players within the team, the domestic players and also a couple of foreigners who have played with this team will also help us because we will know physically what is expected from us and also tactically what is expected from us to be successful in this league,” he said.
“I don’t feel any extra pressure on myself to have to score goals or to match up to somebody else’s achievements in the past. What I’m really looking to work towards is to try and help the team as much as possible.”