After 11 years, spread over two different spells, Jose Ramirez Barreto is all set to end his association with Mohun Bagan as a player.
The Brazilian won almost every trophy in Indian football with the green-and-maroon brigade, including two National League titles.Now 35, Barreto had a difficult final season due to a number of niggles and will be donning the Mohun Bagan jersey one last time in the I-League 5 match against Pune FC here on Sunday.
"I never prepared for this moment. It has been an honour playing for Mohun Bagan over the years. I would like to thank God for giving me the power to give my best every season for this great club. Every coach, player, official, fan and everyone who is associated with this club has supported me. Mohun Bagan will always be in my heart," said a visibly emotional Barreto, at a press conference where Mohun Bagan announced that its talismanic Brazilian would be given a grand farewell before and after the game against Pune FC. The club also promised to make Barreto a life member.
Appreciation from EB
There is no doubt that Barreto has enjoyed God-like status among the Bagan faithful for his amazing tally of goals but the Brazilian has been respected by opposition fans also because he has always been a gentleman on and off the pitch.
“Yes, it gives me great satisfaction that fans all over India, including East Bengal fans appreciate me,” he said.
Barreto, however, isn't quitting the game and though he didn't reveal future plans, is likely to play for Calcutta League outfit Bhowanipore Club next season. “I am not retiring. I want to continue playing and soon everyone will know where.”