ISL: Midfielder Rafael Crivellaro extends Chennaiyin FC deal

Chennaiyin FC on Sunday confirmed that Brazilian midfielder Rafael Crivellaro has extended his stay at the two-time Indian Super League champions for the entirety of the 2020-21 season.

The 31-year-old playmaker was the creative spark for CFC in the run to the 2019-20 ISL final, contributing with seven goals and eight assists in his debut campaign in Indian football.

These included crucial strikes against Kerala Blasters and ATK, and arguably the goal of the season against NorthEast United that he struck from 55 yards out near the centre-circle in a 2-0 win.

“I am very, very happy to continue with Chennaiyin FC. I always wanted to continue my journey here after the incredible season we had last time out. It is a privilege to play for these fans, and hopefully we can deliver more success to them soon enough. We must be positive and optimistic and work hard to achieve our target,” said a determined Crivellaro on renewing his CFC stay.

Commenting on the welcome news, CFC co-owner Vita Dani said: “Rafael (Crivellaro) was one of our standout performers last season and we’re delighted to have him continue with us. He has given our fans a lot to cheer about through his quality and brilliance during a memorable campaign. We hope for more of the same and I’m sure he is raring to go again.”

Crivellaro becomes the second Brazilian at CFC to pen an extension for next season, following in the footsteps of compatriot Eli Sabia. He joined CFC ahead of the 2019-20 season and established himself as the fulcrum in midfield, playing the most number of key passes across the league, and linking up well with the likes of Anirudh Thapa and Edwin Sydney Vanspaul in driving play forward.

His technical intelligence, composure and trickery on the ball proved too much to handle for the opposition as CFC gained momentum with a string of positive results as the season progressed.

It will be Crivellaro’s aim to pick up from where he left off in the upcoming campaign.

Hailing from the city of Porto Alegre, Crivellaro began his senior professional career in Brazil, followed by a successful four-year spell at Portuguese top-tier side Vitoria Guimaraes. During his time at Vitoria, he won the 2012-13 Taca de Portugal (Portuguese FA Cup) and also featured in the UEFA Europa League.

Spells at Ajman Club (UAE) and Wisla Krakow (Poland) came next, before stints at F.C. Arouca and C.D. Feirense in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, with a short tenure at Iranian outfit Sepahan sandwiched in between. Crivellaro again featured in the UEFA Europa League, this time for Arouca.

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