Carlos Pena - I am happy that FC Goa are the first Indian club to play in ACL group stages

Former FC Barcelona youth player Carlos Pena was an integral part of the FC Goa side in the last two seasons. He won the Super Cup in his maiden season with the club and finished at the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) league stages last year.

Pena appeared in 39 ISL matches over two seasons for Gaurs and had scored two goals and provided an assist. The Spaniard decided to hang his boots at the end of the 2019-20 season.

During an Instagram Live chat on FC Goa Fan Club’s page hosted by another Spaniard and former Gaurs star Jofre Mateu, Pena revealed why he chose to come to India in 2018.  

“I spoke to the players who had formerly played in India. I remember asking you (Jofre Mateu). I also asked Edu Bedia and Ferran Corominas and they convinced me to take the decision.

“It is not easy to go out of Spain. You told me about the place and the club and now I am very happy that I took this decision. These two years I have had great memories from India and Goa especially.”

FC Goa Super Cup 2019 champions

Pena suggested that winning the Super Cup in 2019 was a special memory for the defender during his time in India.

“There are a lot of good memories. Winning the Super Cup in the first season was amazing because it was the first trophy in the history of the club and it was a special moment. I remember our celebrations in the hotel and after seeing so many fans at the airport. It was a really special moment.”

After Sergio Lobera was sacked in January with just three games left in the league stage, FC Goa's end to the 2019-20 season was thrown into turmoil. But the team rallied together under Clifford Miranda and managed to secure qualification to the AFC Champions League by winning the league stage.

Pena said, “It was a difficult time for the entire team. But I think we understood that the most important thing at that time was the club. We had the objective to qualify for the AFC Champions League (ACL) and we had a very good chance. I think Derrick Pereira and Clifford Miranda did a very good job and we played very good football in those three matches.”

He also added, “It will be the first time an Indian club will play in the group stages of the ACL and I am very happy that Goa are the first ever Indian club to do it.”

It is very important for any club to have a steady supply of talent coming through from the ranks. Praising the youngsters at the club, the veteran defender said, “The young players of FC Goa have a brilliant future ahead. Guys like Princeton (Rebello) who played two matches last season. He has a bright future. Also, Liston Colaco, who has moved to Hyderabad FC, also has a very good future.”