Twenty-Seven-Year-Old Spaniard Replaces Injured Paartalu For ISL Play-Offs
Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC have completed the signing of midfielder Alejandro ‘Álex’ Barrera García, the club announced on Saturday. The 27-year-old midfielder joins on short-term deal till the end of the season replacing Australian Erik Paartalu who has been ruled out of action since picking up an injury against Chennaiyin FC on February 9th.
“Losing Erik Paartalu ahead of games that will decide the season for us has been a big blow. He was crucial in our midfield and his winning character helps us in the tough games. But we have to accept the circumstances and move on. In Alex we have a temporary replacement who brings with him experience and physicality in the middle of the pitch. We are sure he will help us as we enter the home stretch,” said Blues’ Head Coach Carles Cuadrat.
The midfielder, who will be plying his trade outside Spain for the first time, said he was upbeat about the opportunity to take the field for the Blues.
“I feel really good to be here and I am excited to be part of the club. I am here to try to help the team as much as I can to achieve the goal. Since I was playing regularly before coming to India, I am fit and want to get onto the field as soon as possible. I want to work with the team and the players to get comfortable with all the boys quickly,” said Barrera after completing formalities.
Barrera becomes the sixth Spaniard at the club this season and believes the presence of fellow countrymen in the side will help him settle quicker ahead of the play-offs. “Of course, it’s always easier when you have a player or a coach from your country. We have quite a few Spanish boys here so they will help me integrate into the team quickly,” added Barrera.
Born in Oviedo, Asturias, Barrera joined Sporting de Gijón’s youth academy in 1998, aged seven and spent the next sixteen years with the Rojiblancos. Making his senior debut with the reserves in 2010, he made his first team debut for Gijón in 2012 in the Segunda Division. A constant presence in the squad, Barrera helped them gain promotion to the La Liga for the 2015-16 season.
The following year he moved to Real Zaragoza (2016-17) in the Segunda Division before plying his trade for Extremadura UD (2017-18) who he helped achieve promotion to the Segunda Division for the first time in the club’s history. Barrera spent the first half of the 2018-19 season with Extremadura before making the switch to Bengaluru.
The Blues take on NorthEast United in the semifinal of the Indian Super League with the away leg slated on March 7th in Guwahati followed by the reverse fixture at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on March 11.