Indian Super League: Chennaiyin FC signs Italian midfielder Andrea Orlandi

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Indian Super League team Chennaiyin FC has signed up Spain-born Italian midfielder Andrea Orlandi in a one-year deal. The 34-year-old Andrea Orlandi joins CFC on a free transfer after a spell with Italian Serie B side Novara, a press release here said.

Orlandi, who is set to don the No. 10 jersey, is naturally left-footed and can operate in attacking midfield as well as on the wings besides being a threat from set-pieces. Orlandi, who had a brief spell with FC Barcelona early in his career, will embark on his first stint in Asia and India.

He will join a familiar face in CFC right-back and fan favourite Inigo Calderon, with whom he played in his formative years at Spanish side Alaves and later at Brighton and Hove Albion in England’s championship from 2012 to 2014.

“I am really excited to come to India and play for the champions. I am close friends with Calde and as a result I did watch quite a bit of Chennaiyin last season,” he said. The Italian player said he also had a chat with coach John Gregory and was looking forward to giving 100 per cent in helping the team retain the ISL title.

Gregory said Orlandi is a top-class professional and would add depth to the squad. “In Andrea (Orlandi), we have a top-class professional with not just tremendous work ethic but also a vibrant personality. An addition like him gives our squad more depth and creativity as we look to defend the title,” he added.

Orlandi, who was born and raised in Barcelona, began his career at Alaves in 2002 before going on loan to Barcelona where he made one senior appearance for the Catalan giants and played several games for the Barca B side. He moved to Swansea City in 2007, where he spent five years and also played in the Premier League for the Welsh club.

After a two-year spell at Brighton and Hove Albion, he spent a season at Blackpool. Later, he played in the Cypriot league for Anorthosis Famagusta followed by APOEL Nicosia.