India's Ashique Kurniyan set for La Liga stint

FC Pune City academy graduate Md. Ashique Kurniyan will head to Villareal to play for its third team on loan.

Md. Ashique Kurniyan will head to Villareal to play for its third team on loan.   -  Special Arrangement

FC Pune City academy graduate Muhammed Ashique Kurniyan will head to Villareal to play for its third team on loan. This is the first time a home grown Indian academy player has been selected by a top Spanish club to ply his trade in Europe.

The Kerala-born youngster had already made the right noises when he was picked for the India Under-19 team for the AFC U-19 Championships in Palestine. Prior to that, Ashique represented India in the Under-18 side in the FAM-Frenz Asia Champions Trophy where he scored a wonderful solo goal that brought him under the spotlight.

Primarily a winger, Ashique can play across the forward line.

> Read: Ashique looking forward to Villarreal stint

Speaking on the development, Ashique said, "This is a dream come true. All these years, we would admire these top clubs and their players from afar, but thanks to FC Pune City and Villarreal, I will get a chance to play at one of the most respected clubs in Spain,"

Villareal CF president Fernando Roig said this was just the beginning of the process of identifying good talent from India and giving them a chance to play against its youth team. “Villarreal CF was more than happy to absorb Md. Ashique Kuruniyan in their side because we saw the spark in him. Our coaches will work on him and we will aim to realise his true potential.

"His development as a player is given and this will only bode well for football in India in general. We thank FC Pune City for facilitating this move and hope this inspires a lot more young talent to make it big in Europe.”

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