FC Goa has announced the signing of one of the most distinguished names in Indian football, Odei Onaindia ahead of the 2023-24 season. The defender from Spain has put pen-to-paper with the Gaurs on a one-year deal, the Club can officially confirm.
Onaindia is no stranger to Indian football, having first played in the country in the 2020-21 season in the colours of Hyderabad FC led by their then-head coach Manolo Marquez. He returned last year for another stint with the Nizams under Marquez, and played a crucial role as they finished second in the league.
The 33-year-old will reunite with Manolo Marquez once again, this time at FC Goa as the Club continue to reinforce their squad. Onaindia is the eighth new addition to the Gaurs’ ranks this summer, following Rowllin Borges, Udanta Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Boris Singh and Raynier Fernandes and foreign signings Paulo Retre and Carlos Martinez.
“I’m thrilled about my opportunity with FC Goa. Having played against them for two seasons now, I’m aware how the team has always been competitive and tough to face. I strongly feel that we’ll have a good season this time,” Odei Onaindia said, after signing on the dotted line for the Men in Orange.
“Over the years, I’ve had a few friends who have played for Goa, and all of them have only spoken very well of the club and the place. The fact that Coach Manolo and his staff are here as well, also helped me in making up my mind.
“I cannot wait to join up with my new teammates in training, and make the fans of this great club proud,” he continued.
Ravi Puskur, the Club’s Director of Football, also commented on the new signing, saying, “Odei has undoubtedly been one of the standout center backs in the ISL over the past couple of seasons. As a highly skilled operator and an understated leader, he possesses the ability to marshal the backline with great finesse.
“Odei’s tactical nous and exceptional reading of the game make him a valuable addition to our team. His presence will undoubtedly help us create a strong defensive unit. His potential partnership with Sandesh holds a lot of promise for our future success as we aim to build a strong defensive unit to compete for top honours this season,” he further added.
Odei, Odei, Odei, Ole 🎶🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/DNrmKRMtoP— FC Goa (@FCGoaOfficial) July 12, 2023
Onaindia’s commanding presence on the field, impeccable defensive abilities, excellent vision and leadership qualities make him an ideal fit at FC Goa, as the Club looks to challenge for all the top honours up for grabs in the upcoming 2023-24 season.
Hailing from the Basque Country in northern Spain, the centre-back began his youth career with hometown side Lekeitio FT. From there he moved to Athletic Bilbao’s academy, before CD Basconia became his first senior club in 2008.
This was followed by stints at various other Spanish lower division clubs, before he returned to Bilbao to join their Reserves Team.
In 2018, Odei Onaindia joined CD Mirandes, and was one of the key names in the squad that achieved promotion to the Segunda Division the following year. 2020 marked a turning point in his career when he shifted abroad for the first time to join Hyderabad FC.
The 33-year-old has played 41 matches to-date in the ISL, clocking 3715 minutes and maintaining a passing accuracy of 80.96%. He has also registered 1.80 tackles, 1.32 interceptions, 4.24 clearances and 1.63 blocks per game during this period, making him one of the best defenders in the league right now.
His performances stood out especially in the 2022-23 season, when Hyderabad FC conceded just 16 goals in 22 matches, the best defensive record among all the teams that year.