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ISL: Former Chelsea, Barcelona striker Gudjohnsen signs up for Pune FC

August 24, 2016 17:19 IST

Hrithik Roshan co-owned Indian Super League team FC Pune City on Tuesday announced former Chelsea and Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnsen as their marquee player for the 2016 edition of the league.

The 37-year-old was a part of the Chelsea side that won the Premier League twice in a row in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and also won La Liga and Champions League with Barcelona in 2008-09. He recently featured in the Euro 2016 football tournament in France for Iceland, who featured in their first major tournament and made it all the way to the quarter-finals.

The Iceland legend started his club career with Valur in in Reykjavík in 1994 season. From 1995, he played for PSV in the Netherlands until 1998. He made his national senior team debut came at the age of 17 against Estonia in Tallinn in April 1996 when he came on as a half-time substitute for his own father, Arnor.

"There were other clubs interested in me but when FC Pune City show 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," Gudjohnsen said.

In 1998, the forward joined Bolton Wanderers in England. And in his second season with the Trotters he became their top-scorer with 21 goals. This secured a £4m transfer to Chelsea in the summer of 2000. After two successive title wins with Chelsea, scoring scored 78 goals in 263 appearances for Chelsea, 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’s had a consistent run with Iceland till their World Cup qualifying campaign. The play-off defeat to Croatia in 2013 looked as if he was all but done 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 was excited with the news. "Eidur’s has 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 for the benefit of FC Pune City."

"Gudjohnsen has proved his mettle while playing in the top teams and leagues of the world. This is a footballer who will bring immense experience to the squad. His signing will further strengthen our squad and I extend him a warm welcome into the FCPC family," Hrithik said.

Pune City FC is co-owned by The Rajesh Wadhawan Group and Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan. The club was founded in 2014 and its home ground is the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune.

They finished seventh in the eight-team tournament last year, with 15 points from 14 games in the leagues stages and failed to qualify for the semi-finals.

IMAGE: Eidur Gudjohnsen in action for Iceland during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match against Latvia at Laugardalsvollur National Stadium in Reykjavik, Iceland, on October 10, 2015.

Photograph: Tom Dulat/Getty Images