Bengaluru, September 26: Sandesh Jhingan, who mutually parted ways with Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Kerala Blasters recently, has joined ATK Mohun Bagan on a five-year deal.
The 27-year-old defender, who has won 36 caps for India, had played 76 matches for the Blasters, the most by any player for the club and was part of the team for six straight seasons and the most identifiable face of the club since the inuagural edition of ISL in 2014.
As a mark of respect, Blasters had decided to retire the No.21 jersey worn by the Chandigarh-born player.
Jhingan, who had been sidelined for most part of the last season owing to an ankle injury which he picked up during a friendly match against North East United in Guwahati announced the decision to join the Kolkata giants on his Twitter handle.
Though the injury did not look serious initially, results of the MRI tests done later revealed that he needed a surgery.
Recently, the Jhingan had become the 27th footballer to win the prestigious Arjuna Award.
"To sweeten all #Mariners taste buds. Presenting you the Guardian of Defence. Welcome to the City of Joy," ATK Mohun Bagan welcomed the national team defender through their social media handle.
ISL Emerging Player of the Tournament in 2014 ✅— ATK Mohun Bagan FC (@atkmohunbaganfc) September 26, 2020
AIFF Emerging Player of the Year in 2014 ✅
Arjuna Awardee 🎖️
To sweeten all #Mariners taste buds.
Presenting you the Guardian of Defence.
Welcome to the City of Joy, @SandeshJhingan. #ATKMB #JoyMohunBagan#IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/77FejShfEK
Jhingan, who has spent his formative years playing alongside the great Bhaichung Bhutia and set-piece specialist Rennedy Singh in Sikkim United, has over the years established himself as one of the most important players in the Indian football team behind only Sunil Chhetri.
Since making his India debut during a FIFA World Cup qualifier in 2015, Jhingan has firmly cemented his players in the Indian team back-line.
His growth and maturity as a player impressed former national team coach Stephen Constantine so much that he handed him the captaincy when Chhetri was not around due to injuries the coach was experimenting with his rotation policy in leadership. He has so far worn the captain's armband on several occasions.
In a stellar playing career, Jhingan has won many honours including the All India Football Federation's Emerging Player of the Year award in 2014. The same honour came calling again in the inuagural edition of the IPL in the same year.