East Bengal FC has roped in Spanish midfielder Borja Herrera Gonzalez on a one-year contract. The 30-year-old joins the Red & Gold brigade on a free transfer after his one-year contract with Hyderabad FC expired at the end of May’23. The player registration is subject to completion of regulatory processes.
A vital cog in Hyderabad FC’s (HFC) setup last season, Borja was instrumental in guiding the Nizams to their second consecutive Hero Indian Super League (ISL) semi-finals. The Spaniard was an influential presence in HFC’s midfield and proved his worth by scoring 4 goals, making 5 assists and creating 32 chances in his maiden Hero ISL campaign.
Besides featuring in all of HFC’s 22 Hero ISL matches, Borja also played 5 matches in the Durand Cup and 3 matches in the Hero Super Cup, finishing with an overall tally of 5 goals and 9 assists last season. In addition to his attacking prowess, Borja can also contribute defensively.
Commenting on Borja’s inclusion in the Emami East Bengal squad, Debabrata Mukherjee of Emami Group said, “Borja is one of the most complete midfielders in the ISL. His depth of experience and leadership qualities will provide plenty of strength to our team both on and off the ground.”
For Borja, representing Emami East Bengal gives him an opportunity to play for the club’s huge fan base and participate in the iconic Kolkata derby. He said, “I am excited to continue my footballing journey in India. After a great season with Hyderabad FC, I now want to travel to Kolkata and be a Red & Gold. We are all aware of East Bengal’s rich legacy, so when I got the offer to be a part of this great club, I didn’t have to think twice.”
He added, “I am also looking forward to playing in the Kolkata Derby, which, I’ve heard, is one of the biggest derbies in Asia. I would like to thank Coach Carles, Emami Group and the Club for valuing my experience and showing faith in me.”
East Bengal FC Head Coach Carles Cuadrat praised his compatriot’s versatility, saying, “Borja is a fantastic addition to the squad. He is technically very sound and his versatility on the left side will help both our offence and defence. Having already played a season in India, he has become accustomed to the level of competition in the ISL. He was a vital member of the Hyderabad FC squad last season, and I am sure that his impressive workrate will benefit us immensely.”
Born in Las Palmas, Borja rose through the youth ranks of his hometown clubs UD Las Palmas and Huracan before making his senior professional debut for CF Union Viera in Tercera Division during the 2012-13 season.
Later, the experienced midfielder went on to play for a host of Spanish clubs such as CD Tudelano, Las Palmas B, Las Palmas’ first team, Real Valladolid, Reus, Albacete, FC Andorra, Unionistas de Salamanca CF and UD Tamaraceite. Borja represented Las Palmas in La Liga during the 2017-18 season. He also spent a season in Israel while representing the Israeli Premier League club Maccabi Netanya in 2019.