Owned in partnership by Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan
(Salman Khan denies any links with an ISL team), Wadhawan Group and famous Italian football club Florentina (on who the jersey is based), FC Pune City
will definitely be better contenders than their corresponding ex-IPL team.
Four of the foreign players are Italian, along with coach and his entire support staff.
The veteran Italian coach and ex-midfielder has had no less than 17 coaching spells since 1992, surely some sort of football record. In this, he has returned to Reggina thrice, but has been fired repeatedly for poor results. Most recently, he has coached Serie A and relegation-favorite teams like Bologna, Parma and Padova. His son David Colomba will also represent Pune FC
as a midfielder.
The following will be key players, Indian and international, at his disposal:
Lalit Thapa (GK)
The Indian-born Nepalese goalkeeper is solid, and has played a season with the now-suspended Churchill Bros. team from the I-League.
Arindam Bhattacharya (GK)
The third-choice Goalkeeper for the national team, Arindam is also a Churchill Bros. veteran, who was the best keeper of the I-League back in 2008-09 when they won it.
Emanuele Belardi (GK)
He was third-choice goalie for newly-relegated powerhouse Juventus (due to the scandal) behind Buffon and Mirante. Like his coach, he is a Reginna veteran (twice), and has served loan spells at Napoli, Udinese and Cesena.
Pritam Kotal (DF)
The 21-year old has been hailed as a special talent at I-League club Mohun Bagan, and is a popular India U23 player.
Anupam Sarkar (DF)
Ex West Bengal Captain, he has also played for East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. The 29 year old also has 3 caps for India over the years.
Kostas Katsouranis (DF)
The wall at the back, 35 year old Greek defensive midfielder has an exemplary career, with names like AEK Athens, Benefica, Panathinaikos on his CV. He is probably the most experienced name along with their marquee player Trezeguet.
Andres Gonzalez (DF)
A Columbian international central midfielder, he has played a lot of South American football, most recently with local club Santa Fe and now Junior de Barranquila.
Centreback Bruno Cirillo (Reggina, Inter Milan, AEK Athens, Levante) and Burkina Faso veteran Saidou Madi will further bolster defense.
Lenny Rodrigues (MF)
A midfielder for India and I-League team Churchill Bros, he has played 19 games for his country.
Mehrajuddin Wadoo (MF)
A key player. The Kashmiri veteran has played for Mohun Bagan and IMG Reliance, and has played 31 matches for the Indian national team, scoring 2 goals.
Mehta will want to add to his low tally of 4 goals as a forward for Mumbai in the I-League.
A striker for East Bengal and India on 13 occasions, the Goan can also play as a midfielder.
The French striker and Pune FC
marquee player has scored 34 times for his country, and is a Juventus legend, appearing in over 240 games for the club over a decade and scoring 138 goals. He is also a FIFA World Cup Winner (1998) and is famous for that golden goal against Italy in the 2000 Euro Final. He also missed a penalty in the fateful 2006 FIFA World Cup Final, the game famous for the Zidane headbutt.