Girona FC to become the first LaLiga team to play in India

Girona FC - InsideSport

The Spanish club Girona FC will become the first LaLiga team to play in India.

Girona FC side will embark on a two-game trip to India, becoming only the second team from Europe’s top five leagues to bring a team to a country with over a billion sports fanatics.

The matches will take place against Kerala Blasters, from the Indian Super League on Saturday 28th July, and the Australian A-League side Melbourne City a day earlier on Friday 27th July.

All matches will take place at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kerala, with a 7:00 pm IST kick off.

Girona FC have had two seasons to remember, promotion from LaLiga 123 in 2016-17, the first in their near 88-year history, followed by a 10th place finish in LaLiga Santander. It was the league’s governing body that helped to bring one of its top ten sides to India, a watershed moment for top European teams visiting the country.

Girona FC, nicknamed ‘Gironis’ won the hearts of the neutrals last season with spirited displays against some of the giants of the division. The LaLiga side were boosted by the goals from top scorer Cristhian Stuani who found the net 21 times last season. The Uruguay international who is representing his country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finished 5th in the LaLiga top scorers chart.

The fixtures will be played as part of the Toyota Yaris LaLiga World tournament, with Kerela Blasters who finished 6th in last season’s India Super League, and Melbourne City, who had a third place finish in the A-League kicking off the tournament on the 24th July.

Jose Cachaza, Country Manager India, LaLiga expressed his delight at the news. “We promised LaLiga fans in India that one day we’d bring a top side to the country, and we’ve delivered on that. This is a special moment for a sports mad country, and we are delighted that Girona FC have decided to make this historic trip.

“In the last 12 months, we have had 20,000 fans attend an el Clasico public viewing in Delhi; we have been able to bring to India LaLiga Ambassador’s such as Gaizka Mendieta and Gianlucca Zambrotta. We have so much more to announce for our fans in India in the coming weeks. This is just the start.”

Delfí Geli, President of Girona FC said: “It is an honour for our club to participate in this tournament in India. For Girona FC it will be a special experience as it will be the first time our team has played away from Europe since its foundation 88 years ago.

“We are looking forward to starting the tournament and showing the football that we have displayed in LaLiga to the Indian football fans and the world. See you on July in India!”

Also present in Kerala for the announcement was LaLiga Ambassador Fernando Morientes. The former Real Madrid and Valencia striker had this to say: “It’s a real privilege for me to be in India again. I was here in September 2016 when LaLiga first started their operations, and today is a special day when we can bring one of our teams to India for the fans to enjoy in person. It will be a special moment when Girona FC run out at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. I look forward to seeing the fans showing their support in numbers, and the announcement goes to show the interest in LaLiga across India”