ISL: Erik Paartalu is back at Bengaluru FC's training facilities after having some differences with the club
The Aussie midfielder has started to train with the club after the AFC Cup controversy. The player was left out BFC's AFC Cup team after reportedly breaking the bio-bubble.
The 35-year-old Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu has been training at former Indian Super League Champion's Bengaluru FC's training base for three weeks now. The club and the player were on a collision course, because of him allegedly breaking the bio-bubble in the Maldives, which led to a major controversy, and eventually, the AFC Cup got postponed from May to August.
Erik was not training with Bengaluru FC after the incident, while the entire team including the new signings were undergoing the pre-season for the AFC Cup which began on August 15th. Bengaluru FC finished third in the AFC Cup group stage and did not qualify for the next round. The Blues lost out to eventual group winners ATK Mohun Bagan FC, drew with Bangladesh champions Bashundhra Kings and thrashed Maldives side Maziya S&C in their three games in the AFC Cup.
The club decided to go ahead with three foreigners in the squad, as Erik was the player that would have filled the AFC quota spot, but he was not named in the squad for the tournament. The club missed Erik's experience in midfield, as the club tried an all-Indian midfield but the trio of Suresh, Rohit Kumar, and Jayesh Rane could not make the difference BFC would have liked them to make. Apart from his steady passing and defensive abilities, Erik's presence in the set-piece situations was visibly missed, as Erik as a goal scorer has been a goal-scoring threat for BFC.
There were many rumors linking Erik to Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters, but nothing came through in the end. It might also lead to a direction that Erik Paartalu in the end is staying with Bengaluru FC. There has been no official confirmation on his stay yet, but the player has been training in Bellary and is preparing for the next season. This is what he posted online
"The start of my 3rd week here in Bellary working on my own. Looking forward to the team arriving soon and meeting some new faces. Special thanks to the JSW Sports team for doing their best to accommodate me."
It will be fascinating to see if Bengaluru keeps Erik Paartalu for the upcoming season or will he plays for another ISL team. He is contracted with BFC till 2022, and the club will have to terminate his contract and make him a free agent. There many clubs who are yet to complete their foreign contingent for the upcoming ISL, and many of them will be interested to have Erik play for them.