Chennaiyin FC announced a two-year contract renewal for Mailson Alves and a one-year extended stay for Gregory Nelson after the duo powered the franchise to a stunning 3-2 win over Bengaluru FC in the final of Indian Super League.
In the final at Sree Kantireeva Stadium, Mailson jumped high on two occasions to head home from a couple of pinpoint Nelson corner kicks, leaving the fancied home team and its fans shocked.
The Brazilian centre-back was solid in defence alongside Chennaiyin skipper Henrique Sereno throughout the ISL season, helping keep a joint-highest eight clean sheets.
Mailson was equally lethal at the other end of the pitch, becoming the highest scoring defender this season with four headed goals, two of which came in the final.
His aerial prowess and no-nonsense approach was instrumental in helping the club win its second ISL title.
Mailson also became one of only three players to have played for Chennaiyin FC in both their final appearances in the ISL, with Jeje Lalpekhlua, and Thoi Singh being the other two.
“Chennaiyin FC is home away from home for me. It feels great to have won the ISL trophy in both my seasons at the club, and to have scored twice in the final this time is something I could’ve never imagined.
“I’d like to thank everyone at the club for their support and love. I will try my best to help take the club to greater heights in the coming seasons,” the towering Brazilian said.
Chennaiyin FC’s Dutch winger Nelson too enjoyed a sparkling season that saw him become the highest assist-maker for the club with five assists to his name.
Nelson proved to be a man for the big occasions, with all of his assists coming in the semis and the big final. He also scored the winner in Chennaiyin’s crucial 1-0 win over FC Pune City at home in the league stage.
Nelson was explosive on the wings the entire season, a constant threat and an astute dribbler who can deliver a telling final ball.
“I’ve enjoyed my first season in India and it is a proud feeling to have won the title with Chennaiyin FC. The players, coaching staff and management at the club are like a family and I’m excited for what lies in store next season,” said Nelson on having signed on for one more year.
Head coach John Gregory, who penned a one-year contract extension himself, is delighted to have retained two integral components of his title-winning squad.
“Having Mailson and Greg (Nelson) come back for next season is great news for me and for everyone involved with the club. They are top-class professionals with a lot of experience, and it is vital for us to retain the core of the players that made this season a success,” said the gaffer on the development.