The 28-year-old Indian defender Sandesh Jhingan has completed his move to top-tier Croatian team HNK Sibenik. The Indian international confirmed his move on social media and even thanked his former Indian Super League ATK Mohun Bagan FC for helping him let his dream of playing in Europe.
Sandesh was awarded the Player of the Year by the All India Football Federation earlier this on his birthday and became the first defender in the last decade to win the award. The move to Croatia makes him the first Indian player to play in the top tier of the Croatian League.
HNK Sibenik finished sixth in the league last season, and they are looking to improve from the last season. Sandesh, the reigning AIFF Men's Footballer of the Year award winner will most likely be in the matchday squad for the next match. The club currently is on the eighth spot in the league after five games.
"We are very happy to have Sandesh Jhingan with us. We expect good things from him as we have followed him on different platforms where we were able to see his past performances. Although we know the adaptation process might take him a few weeks, we are confident that with his quality and leadership, he will become an important member of the team," said Francisco Cardona, CEO of HNK Sibenik.
Sandesh Jhingan was in attendance at the Stadium Šubićevac as he watched his team play on Sunday in a home win against Hrvatski Dragovoljac.
"He made a very good impression on the staff and fans of the club when he was watching the last home game from the stands. He showed passion and energy for the team," added Cardona about signing Sandesh.
"I think I am at a stage of my career where I really want to test myself in the highest level possible and I think this is the perfect platform for me. As I have said, it has been my desire to play in Europe and I have taken up this challenge.
"A big thank you to the head coach Mario Rosas and the owners and management for giving me the opportunity to come here. I cannot wait to get going and look forward to giving 100% at every given opportunity," said Jhingan on completing his move to Sibenik.
Sandesh Jhingan becomes a part of a small exhaustive list of Indian footballers who have gone on to play in the top division of a European league.