BENGALURU: Not every footballer will be willing to give up a spot in his team's XI in search of a new challenge.
Raphael Augusto has done just that, swapping his Chennaiyin FC shirt for a Bengaluru FC one this time. Since signing for Chennaiyin in 2015, Augusto was pivotal in their two ISL-winning campaigns. In the last two seasons, the team was built around the midfielder. He was one of the fan-favourites.
But in Bengaluru, he will not be a guaranteed starter. Head coach Carles Cudarat has Dimas Delgado, Erik Paartalu and Eugeneson Lyngdoh as other options for his three-man midfield. And there will be also the constraint of the number of foreign players in the playing XI (maximum five at the moment). The Brazilian averaged 79 minutes every game with Chennaiyin, something he might not get with Bengaluru. However, Augusto is willing to fight.
“It was a great few years in Chennaiyin," said Augusto, who has signed a two-year contract with Bengaluru. "Winning the titles with the club were great moments. I received a lot of love from the fans. But it was the right time in my career to face new challenges," he said.
“I always loved the way Bengaluru played, and I've heard a lot of good things about the coach. Also, the fact that I would be playing alongside some of the best players in the league made me switch to Bengaluru. Now, the most important part will be to push in the new conditions. I am no longer a leader here. That will motivate me to do well in every game that I play here,” the he 28-year-old added.
Augusto’s fine performances for Chennaiyin will give Cuadrat a selection headache. Known for his attacking play, Augusto has an impressive passing record and is equally good in defensive play. Twenty four interceptions, 99 tackles and nine clearances last season is a testimony of his ability to defend. With Paartalu or Dimas holding the backline, Augusto will be able to contribute more in the Bengaluru attack and be an asset for Cuadrat.
"Everyone in India now knows what Raphael is capable of. He has the skills and suits the style we play. I was surprised to know that he was out of the contract when we approached him. Considering that we are going to play three competitions this time (including AFC matches and Super Cup), he will add immense value to our squad. It also means that we have a place for every player in the squad. But more importantly, his presence will also push the other midfielders in our team. It will be a good challenge for both of us," said Cuadrat.