Chennaiyin FC signs Andre Schembri on free transfer

Andre Schembri becomes the first player from Malta to play in the Indian Super League and for Chennaiyin.

Andre Schembri (in picture) becomes Chennaiyin FC's sixth signing.   -  Getty Images

Indian Super League club Chennaiyin FC has signed 33-year-old Maltese attacker Andre Schembri on a free transfer for the 2019-20 season. He becomes the first player from Malta to play in the ISL and for Chennaiyin. He joins the club after a spell at Cypriot top-division side Apollon Limassol FC, with whom he became the first Maltese player to score in the proper rounds of a UEFA competition, netting in the UEFA Europa League.

“It is an honour to sign for Chennaiyin and become the first Maltese footballer to play for the club and in the ISL. Malta is very close to Italy and I know a lot about Chennaiyin because of its rich history involving Italians," said Schembri, referring to the club's first head coach Marco Materazzi and other Italian footballers who have played for the club.

He added, “I hope this is the best year of my career as all of us at the club set out to achieve the target of winning the ISL title. My aim is to bring my experience to the fray and also help the youngsters with that and my leadership skills. I am a team player and I am elated to be part of the Chennaiyin FC family.”

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About manager John Gregory, Schembri said, “John (Gregory) has told me a lot about the club, the league and football in the country. I look forward to playing for him and also learning a lot from his coaching and experience. And to the fans, I will give my utmost and best to reach the target and I look forward to seeing them fill our stadium in huge numbers.”

Gregory said Schembri's goal-scoring ability and leadership will be important in Chennaiyin's pursuit to win back the ISL title. “Andre (Schembri) is a seasoned professional who has been among the flag-bearers of Maltese football over the years. His goal-scoring ability, versatility and leadership skills will be a huge asset in our pursuit of the ISL title. He has been prolific in front of goal throughout his career, and I am sure he will continue to find the mark in Chennaiyin colours. Andre is another example of someone who will fight for the badge and inspire those around him. I am really excited about how things are shaping up as we count down to pre-season.”

Schembri becomes Chennaiyin's sixth summer signing following the transfers of Lithuanian Nerijus Valskis, Romanians Lucian Goian and Dragos Firtulescu, Afghan Masih Saighani and Indian Edwin Sydney Vanspaul.

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