Ahead of the upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL 2023-24), NorthEast United FC confirmed the acquisition of Brazilian striker Ibson Melo as the first new foreign signing of the season. The 33-year-old forward has signed a one-year contract with the Highlanders and is set to lead the club’s attacking line in the upcoming 2023-24 season.
Ibson Melo came through the youth academy at Santa Cruz FC in Brazil and later ventured into the Cypriot and Portuguese First Divisions. He then made his mark in Asia, spending four successful seasons in the Thai League 1. Now, Ibson brings his experience and goal-scoring prowess to NorthEast United FC, eager to embark on this new chapter in his career.
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Expressing his excitement about joining the club, Ibson said, “I was impressed by the seriousness & the professionalism of the people involved at the club. I believe that there is a very good opportunity to grow together. I hope to be very happy in India with my family and stay for a long time and contribute to the team’s success.”
Head coach Juan Pedro Benali exuded confidence in Ibson’s abilities and believes he will be an asset to the team’s attacking department.
“Ibson is a very good player and knows the game very well. He’s fast and he can play in different positions along the front line. He is also clinical and can score from different situations. He is a very experienced player and I believe he will score a lot of goals and help us reach our objectives,” said Benali.
Having scored over 60 goals in the Thai League 1 and being the top scorer for two out of three clubs during his tenure in Southeast Asia, Ibson brings a proven track record of success.
His arrival has been lauded by CEO Mandar Tamhane, who said, “The signing of Ibson Melo represents the club’s commitment to bringing in accomplished players who can make an immediate impact. He is a player with proven experience in Asian conditions.”