Bengaluru FC have bolstered their attacking options with the signature of striker Roy Krishna from ATK Mohun Bagan, the club announced on Monday.

Krishna, who captains Fiji and has the most goals and appearances for his country, previously turned out for ATK FC and ATK Mohun Bagan in the Indian Super League (ISL). His Bengaluru deal will see him stay put with the Blues until 2024, with the option of a contract extension to his two-year deal.

“I’m really excited to join Bengaluru FC. I had conversations with the coach (Simon Grayson) when I was in the early stages of negotiations, and he really convinced me that I would have an impact at the club. I’ve always admired the way Bengaluru played and organized itself over the years that I’ve played in India,” Krishna said upon his arrival.

“When we played against Bengaluru FC, they have always been a tough opponent and we knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park. We had a different strategy when taking on BFC. From the start I’ve had a good impression of the club, but it took some time to finalize the move as I had to factor in my family. I’m really pleased with how well things have worked so far, and I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about taking on Bengaluru FC as an opponent, and that I get to be part of the BFC legacy,” he added.

After beginning his career with local side Labasa as a teenager, Krishna made his first move abroad in 2008, joining New Zealand Football Championship side Waitakere United. In six seasons with Waitakere, Krishna scored 55 goals in 75 appearances and picked up the NZFC Golden Boot in 2012-13.

Following a short stint at Auckland City, where he became the first Fijian to score at the finals of a FIFA tournament by netting against Raja Casablanca in a playoff of the FIFA Club World Cup, Krishna moved again, this time to Australia where he joined Wellington Phoenix.

At Phoenix, Krishna was named the Players’ Player of the Year in 2017-18, Player of the Year in 2018-19 and with 18 goals, won the A-League Golden Boot in 2018-19. Krishna is the Phoenix’s all-time leading goalscorer with 51 goals, and his record of 18 goals in a single A-League season has not been matched by any other Phoenix player.

In three seasons in the Indian Super League, Roy Krishna has 36 goals and 18 assists and was joint top-scorer in the ISL in 2019-20 (15 goals, ATK) and 2020-21 (14 goals, ATK Mohun Bagan).

“We wanted to bring Roy to Bengaluru FC the moment we knew he was available. There were a host of clubs within the League and outside who were in the running to sign him, and I am delighted that we were able to get this over the line," said Parth Jindal, club director of Bengaluru FC.

"We want to bring BFC back to where it belongs, and this signing is as big a statement of intent as can be. Roy’s work ethic, eye for goal and records are phenomenal, and we’re all excited to see how he teams up with Sunil and the rest of the squad. I’m certain that our fans feel the same way; they were excited when the rumours linking Roy to BFC started floating, and I’m happy to tell them that we’ve got our man,” he added.

“Krishna is a big signing for the football club and one that I’m delighted we have made. Roy has proven over the years what a fantastic footballer and goalscorer he has been, and his experience and know-how in the Indian Super League will also prove to be a big plus for us. I am certain that the younger players on our team will be able to learn much from working with him and Sunil both on and off the pitch,” said Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson.

On the international front, Roy Krishna - an ambassador for the Oceania Football Confederation - has represented Fiji at the U20 and U23 levels before making his debut for the senior national team at the 2007 South Pacific games.

His opening goal against Mexico at the 2016 Rio Olympics is Fiji’s first and only goal at the Olympic games. With 31 goals in 45 appearances, Krishna leads the charts for goals and appearances for his country.

Krishna, an ISL champion with ATK FC, is Bengaluru FC’s sixth signing of the season, following the arrivals of Javi Hernandez, Prabir Das, Faisal Ali, Amrit Gope and Hira Mondal.

Featured photo: AFP / PUNIT PARANJPE