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All India Football Federation hailed Bangalore lad Ishan Pandita’s signing a contract with Spanish LaLiga side Club Deportivo Leganes to play in the youth team, describing it a landmark achievement.
Congratulating Pandita, AIFF President Praful Patel tweeted, “Heartiest congratulations to Ishan Pandita, first Indian to sign for Spanish @LaLiga club. A landmark achievement at such a young age.”
Bengaluru boy Ishan Pandita became the first Indian footballer to sign a professional contract with a La Liga club. He has been playing in Spanish lower division clubs for the last three years.
Pandita, a 19-year old striker of Kashmiri origin, signed a one-year contract with CD Leganes but will be playing in the Division de Honor Juvenil which is the top-level for youth players in Spain.
He played for Liga Adelante side UD Almeria’s U-18 team last season.
Pandita was handed the No. 50 jersey by club officials yesterday.
Ishan’s father Neeraj Pandita said that his son “will be eyeing the main team.”
“He will be playing for the U-19 team and will be eyeing the main team. He has been in Spain for the last three years and I am happy for him,” Neeraj was quoted as saying by the official AIFF website.
“The club football levels at the U-19 level are of a high standard,” he added.
CD Leganes, a club located on the outskirts of Madrid, got promotion to Spain’s top division LaLiga this season. They are currently placed 11th in the league table.