Indian Super League outfit SC East Bengal have strengthened their ranks by signing Croatian centre back Franjo Prce for the upcoming season. The former Lazio man has signed a one year contract and will surely keep things tight in defence for the Red and Golds.
Prce became the third foreigner announced by the ISL outfit after they already roped in Slovenian midfielder Amir Dervisevic and Australian defender Tomislav Mrcela. The Croat comes to India from Croatian club NK Slaven Belupo.
The 25-year-old centre back started his career at Hajduk Split’s youth team. It was in 2014 that he joined Lazio U19 and gradually rose through the ranks to debut for the Lazio senior team in 2016. He was with Lazio till 2018 and enjoyed loan spells with Brescia and US Salernitana. He has had stints in Cyprus and Ukraine where he represented Omonia Nikosia and Karpaty Lviv respectively.
“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,” Prce said after completing formalities.
Originally Prce was born in Bosnia Herzegovina and later he moved to Croatia. He stayed at Split since he was nine years old and grew up as a footballer as he joined the academy.
“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,” he added.
At Lazio, Prce was a teammate of several big stars, among them was former Germany international Miroslav Klose and Italian forward Ciro Immobile, who recently won the European Championships with Italy. He also shared the dressing room with Stefan De Vrij, Antonio Candreva and Lucas Biglia.
Prce was also a part of the Croatian under-17 team featuring in the 2013 UEFA European Under-17 Championships. Later he was also a part of the Croatian team in the 2013 U-17 World Cup.
The Croatian despite being only 25 brings loads of experience as he has featured at a very high level and will look to use his experience to lure SC East Bengal out of danger.