East Bengal signs Australian defender Tomislav Mrcela

Tomislav Mrcela in action for Perth Glory

East Bengal has signed Australian central defender Tomislav Mrcela on a one-year deal until the end of the 2021-22 Indian Super League season.

After signing for the Red and Gold Brigade, Mrcela said,

“’m happy to have signed for SC East Bengal, and I have got good feedback about the club. I have friends who have played in India and also know a thing or two about the club, and they tell me how big it is in this part of the world.”

The 30-year old central defender talked about how he will add experience to the East Bengal defense and the locker room.

He continued,

“I will look to add experience at the heart of the defense and take care of the locker room as well. The atmosphere within the team is very important and I will leave no stone unturned in doing what needs to be done for the team’s benefit.”

The Australian defender further talked about how the team will play for the fans despite their absence in the stands during the upcoming ISL season.

He said,

“I also know how passionate the fans are here and it’s unfortunate that they can’t be in the stands cheering us. We play for them and we will do everything we can to make them happy. I can’t wait to start the season.”

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After coming through the RNK Split academy in Croatia, Mrcena spent numerous brief spells with lower league Croatian clubs like Jadran Castel, Primorac Stobrek, NK Imotski, NK Mosor, and a brief return to RNK Split as well. Eventually, Croatian First Football League club Hrvatski Dragovoljac signed the defender and he made 27 appearances during the 2013-14 season impressing Lokomotiva.

Mrcena spent the next couple of seasons at Lokomotiva making 56 appearances before switching to the K-League club Jeonnam Dragons. With the Dragons, he made 53 appearances in two seasons scoring 3 goals and assisting 3 goals as well.

The Perth-born defender attracted interest from Perth Glory and joined the club on a two-year contract ahead of the 2018-19 A League season. At Perth, Mrcena won his first trophy when Glory lifted the 2018-19 A-League Premiers title but failed to win the Finals Series as they lost to Sydney in the final on penalties.

Also read: Kerala Blasters sign former Getafe and Espanyol striker Alvaro Vazquez 

Since then, Bengaluru has heavily courted the defender and almost signed him ahead of the 2021 AFC Cup campaign but the Blues ended up signing the Brazilian defender Alan Costa instead.