It wasn’t really a hard decision, coming to India, for Jorge Ortiz Mendoza. After all, he had only heard good things about football in the country, the Indian Super League (ISL), and the club he would eventually sign for, FC Goa.
“It was not a really hard sell. I share a great relationship with Edu (Bedia) and have played with Carlos (Pena) as well. I know other players from Spain who played in the league. And everyone had nothing but good things to say about the club and the league,” the former Atletico Madrid B attacker tells The Bridge in an exclusive interaction.
Having spent almost a decade playing professional football in Spain, Ortiz was looking for a new challenge, something that would excite him and that’s when the ISL beckoned. “I wanted to have new challenges at this stage of my career while the club is also looking at the long term and looking to bring in foreigners who are at this stage of their careers. I believe the best days for both the club and me lie ahead, hopefully together,” he says, with a sense of self-belief.
“I am a player who likes to attack and that goes with the philosophy of the club. Additionally, I am arriving at the peak at the age of 28,” Ortiz adds.
Indeed, there remains every doubt on not only Ortiz but each of Goa’s new foreign signings. The club had reached incredible heights under Lobera and foreigners like Ferran Corominas, Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall were perhaps the most integral part of that core. But over the summer, all were expected to depart, especially after Lobera was sacked.
The challenge for Goa’s management and new coach Juan Ferrando was to rebuild from scratch, and to do that with perfection, is a tough job in this market. They got someone with a proven goal-scoring record to replace Coro, Edu Bedia can slot in for Jahouh, Fall will be replaced.
However, what proved to be tough, and is still a question many are asking, was whether they could find a suitable player to replace Hugo Boumous, the man who pulled all the strings and deservedly took home the Golden Ball award. Alberto Nogeura is being seen as a like-for-like replacement for Boumous but whether he can match up to the Frenchman’s steep standards, only time can tell.
Jorge Ortiz Mendoza (Source: Twitter/Grada3.com)
This is where Ortiz’s addition to the squad could come in handy. People in the know describe him as a fast, agile and intelligent winger who can make quick decisions. He is versatile enough to play in multiple positions in an attacking role, and has a lot of potential. In fact, some believe, on the pitch, he could be as unpredictable as Boumous.
Last season, at Baleares, in 20 games, he managed to score eight times, thus finishing as the second top scorer of Group 1, while also providing three assists. If the 28-year-old can reflect his form, chances are, he could be the main man for Goa.
“I think I bring a lot of directness to the team,” Ortiz says when asked about his playing style. “I like to use my pace and my ability to dribble to create chances for the team. The club’s philosophy of passing the ball and always on the lookout to attack really suits me.”
“What I really do believe in is that the team is more important above all. Football is a collective sport and everything is fine as long as the team wins. I hope to do whatever is asked of me in the coming season,” he continues.
“It’s going to be different for everyone involved; a tough one. Luckily, the preseason will be in Goa and I’m sure that will help me get acclimated to the conditions there. As I start spending time in those conditions and my teammates, everything will become easier,” Ortiz signs off.