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I-League heavyweights East Bengal are exploring the possibility of a tie-up with Spanish giants FC Barcelona, the club said in a social media statement.
"Senior officials of the Spanish giants, FC Barcelona and Quess East Bengal Football Club team, met to explore the possibility of an association between the two clubs. The meeting facilitated by Rakuten, the global innovation partner and sponsor of FC Barcelona, was held at Quess House in Bengaluru. Rakuten is incidentally advising FCB on expanding its footprint worldwide," East Bengal FC chairman Ajit Isaac said in a statement.
East Bengal, who narrowly missed the I-League title and finished runners-up behind Chennai City FC, recently handed Spanish coach Alejandro Menendez, a former Real Madrid youth academy coach, a two-year contract extension.
The red and golds are also willing to recruit a few more players from Spain next season.
According to sources, the details are yet to be chalked out with club officials saying the association is still at an early stage.
A few years ago, East Bengal had been in talks with Real Madrid for a likely association at academy level, but that did not see the light of the day eventually.
East Bengal did not take part in the Super Cup recently and have been showcaused by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with other six I-League clubs who boycotted the season-ending cup competition.