Chennaiyin sign Italian midfielder Andrea Orlandi


Chennai: Indian Super League (ISL) title holders Chennaiyin FC on Monday announced the arrival of Spanish-born Italian midfielder Andrea Orlandi on a one-year deal.

The 34-year-old joins Chennaiyin on a free transfer after a spell with Italian Serie B side Novara, according to a release.

Orlandi, who is set to adorn 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.

New signing Orlandi, who had a brief spell with FC Barcelona early in his career, will embark on his first stint in Asia and India.

Orlandi 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 then later at Brighton & 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. What Calde said about the bond in the dressing room and the positive atmosphere surrounding the entire club helped me make the decision to move.

“I’ve also had a good chat with John (Gregory) and I am looking forward to giving my 100 per cent in helping the team retain the ISL title,” said an elated Orlandi on joining the club.

“In Andrea (Orlandi), we have a top-class professional with not just tremendous work ethic but also a vibrant personality. I know him very well from his playing career in England. An addition like him gives our squad more depth and creativity as we look to defend the title,” head coach John Gregory said.

An Italian national who was born and raised in Barcelona, Orlandi 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 Barcelona 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.

Orlandi then had a two-year spell at Brighton & Hove Albion before spending a season at Blackpool. He then played in the Cypriot top-flight for Anorthosis Famagusta followed by APOEL Nicosia.