Odisha signs Brazilian striker Jonathas

Jonathas Cristian de Jesus
Jonathas de Jesus celebrates a goal

Odisha has signed former Real Sociedad and Elche striker Jonathas Cristian de Jesus on a one-year deal until the end of the 2021-22 Indian Super League season.

After signing for the Juggernauts, Jonathas said,

“I am very excited for this new challenge in my career.  The project that Odisha FC showed me had a big impact on my decision. I am very motivated and I am looking forward to play in the ISL and achieve greater things with Odisha FC. Ama Team Ama Game!”

Also read: Mumbai City signs former Odisha midfielder Bradden Inman 

The Brazilian striker was courted by Kerala Blasters as their star signing but Jonathas felt that their offer was a bit lower than his expectations and the 32-year old denied the move to the Yellow Army. When Odisha came in with a similar offer with World Cup winner David Villa convincing him personally, Jonathas had no option but to join the Kalinga Warriors ahead of the 2021-22 ISL season.

After starting his career with Brazilian clubs Cruzeiro, Ipatinga, and Villa Nova, Jonathas signed for defending champions AZ Alkmaar ahead of the 2008-09 Eredivisie season.

Following a two-season stay with AZ, the striker moved to Italian clubs Brescia, Pescara, Torino, and Latina within four years but failed to nail down a regular spot at a Serie A club.

La Liga came calling as Elche signed Jonathas ahead of the 2014-15 season and the striker scored 14 goals and provided 7 assists in 34 league appearances impressing the decision-makers at Real Sociedad.

At Real Sociedad, the Brazilian striker scored 7 goals and assisted a couple of goals in 27 appearances with many of those coming off the bench.

Rubin Kazan was the next stop in the career of Jonathas and the striker scored 9 goals and provided 3 assists in 26 Russian Premier League appearances. An ill-fated spell with Bundesliga club Hannover 96 was followed by a brief loan spell at Corinthians. The striker returned to Elche for a single season followed by a move to Al-Sharjah.

Also read: Odisha signs Malaysian midfielder Liridon Krasniqi on loan 

Odisha FC President Raj Athwal talked up the experience of their last foreign signing across top European leagues.

He said,

“We are thrilled to have signed a player of Jonathas’ quality and experience. His record speaks for itself, having played and scored in all the top leagues worldwide including Serie A, La Liga, and the Bundesliga. Jonathas is a huge signing not only for Odisha Football Club but Indian football in general.”

The Odisha head coach Kiko Ramirez talked up the abilities of Jonathas and expects him to be the man responsible for the goals in the upcoming ISL season.

He said,

“Jonathas has to be our goal scorer. He will give us work inside the pitch and he will make it very difficult for opposing defenders. In addition, he comes to the club with a lot of hunger and motivation to make a big impact in the ISL. Apart from his great character, he has a lot of quality, he is good in the air and he can create chances on his own.”