East Bengal signs former Lazio defender Franjo Prce

Franjo Prce in action for Lazio

East Bengal has signed Croatian defender Franjo Prce on a one-year deal until the end of the 2021-22 Indian Super League season.

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

“I have been on the move from a very young age. I have played in Italy when I was in my formative years as a footballer and it was an amazing experience. Likewise, India excited me and when the offer from such a big club like SC East Bengal came my way, it was a no-brainer.”

The 25-year old defender also talked about using his experience in the ISL and the massive fan base of the club.

He continued,

“I have played with some of the big names in world football and it has helped me grow on and off the field. I think I can use my experience here in the ISL and try to help my team do well. I am eagerly waiting to experience India and I also know this club has a massive fan base. It’s a shame that they can’t be with us in the stands but we will play for them. We always play for the fans.”

Also read: East Bengal signs Australian defender Tomislav Mrcela 

After coming through the Hadjuk Split youth academy in Croatia, the central defender joined the Lazio youth setup at the age of 18. After making just one senior appearance for the Italian club, Prce was loaned out to Serie B clubs Salernitana and Brescia before being loaned out to Croatian club NK Istra 1961.

After making 16 appearances for Istra in a single season, the youngster asked for a permanent move in search of regular playing time and ended up at Cypriot club Omonoia. At Omonoia, the defender made 17 appearances and scored his first senior goal as well.

The Croatian defender joined Ukrainian club Karpaty Lviv ahead of the 2019-20 season but sought a move back home in January joining NK Varazdin for six months before switching to Slaven Belupo. With Slaven, Prce made 20 appearances in the 2020-21 HNL season and scored his second senior goal as well.

Also read: Defending champions Mumbai City break ISL record transfer fee to sign Apuia 

Franjo Prce is East Bengal’s third overseas signing of the season after the club roped in former Real Madrid Castilla manager Manuel ‘Manolo’ Diaz. Along with defensive midfielder Amir Dervisevic and new signing Tomislav Mrcela, the Croatian defender will be in charge of keeping the East Bengal defense tight at the back.