The Indian Super League team FC Pune City on Wednesday (August 24) announced the signing of former Chelsea and Barcelona star Eidur Gudjohnsen as its marquee player for the 2016 edition of the tournament.
The 37-year-old was part of the Chelsea side that won the Premier League title in 2004-05 and 2005-06. He was also part of the La Liga and Champions League title winning Barcelona team in 2008-09.
Speaking at the introduction of the striker, Gaurav Modwel, CEO of FC Pune City said, “To me Eidur is a true marquee who will be an inspiration to the rest of the squad. He has made valuable contributions to every team he has been a part of – Chelsea, Barcelona or the Iceland national team. I am anxious to witness his sublime touches and creative vision which could unsettle any defence.”
The Iceland star started his club career with Valur in Reykjavík in 1994. From 1995, he played for PSV in the Netherlands until 1998. He made his national senior team debut at the age of 17 against Estonia in Tallinn in April 1996 when he came on as a half-time substitute for his father, Arnor.
Gudjohnsen said, “There were other clubs interested in me but when FC Pune City showed their interest, intent and plans, I knew this was it. I have the confidence of the coach and will ensure that they find it difficult to leave me out.
“Everyone needs to be motivated to succeed, and I have the same aim here. I love the sport. I still love going to training every day.”
In 1998, the forward joined Bolton Wanderers in England, and in his second season with them, he became their top-scorer with 21 goals. This secured a £4 million transfer to Chelsea in the summer of 2000.
After two successive title wins with Chelsea, scoring 78 goals in 263 appearances, Gudjohnsen joined European champions Barcelona in the summer of 2006, and his stay at the Catalan giants saw the club winning the treble in 2009.
He had a year-long spell at Monaco after which he came back to England to play for Tottenham Hotspur, Stoke City and Fulham. He left England to join AEK Athens for a year followed by a stint with Belgian clubs Cercie Brugge and Club Brugge. This was followed by an emotional return to Bolton in 2014, exactly 14 years after he left them to join Chelsea.
Gudjohnsen had a consistent run with Iceland until their World Cup qualifying campaign. The play-off defeat to Croatia in 2013 looked like ending his international career until he made a goal-scoring return in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Kazakhstan. When Iceland coach Lars Lagerback named him in his 23-man squad for the Euro 2016 finals in France, it injected a new life in the striker’s long career.
Pune head coach Antonio Habas said, “Eidur has the experience of playing at highest levels and a professional motivation to succeed. I’ve admired him from afar for many years and am very excited at the prospect of us working together.”