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ISL 2017: Chennaiyin FC sign 29-year-old midfielder Rene Mihelic logo 27-07-2017

Chennaiyin FC has completed the signing of Slovenian playmaker Rene Mihelic for the 2017-18 season of the Indian Super League. The 29-year-old joins the 2015 ISL champions on a free transfer after the expiry of his contract at Latvian club Riga FC.

Mihelic graduated from the youth academy of Slovenian giants NK Maribor and also went on to make his senior professional debut for them. At the age of 19, Mihelic went on to become Slovenia’s youngest player at international level.

Chennaiyin FC's ISL draft: Thoi Singh, Bikramjit Singh, Dhanachandra Singh among signed

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Since his departure from NK Maribor, Mihelic has had stints of various length at Nacional, Levski Sofia, Zavrc and Debrecen before settling down at Hapoel Ra'anana, a club that competes in Israeli Premier League.

Mihelic has represented Slovenia at both senior and various age group levels from U-18 to U-21. He has won the domestic league in Slovenia and Hungary and has played in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League for Maribor, Nacional and Debrecen.

“Rene is a player with a fantastic CV. He is not only a winner but has great technique and at 29 could have his best saved for Chennaiyin FC in the ISL. I have been following him closely since he moved to Israel a few years back and always had him on top of our shortlist of foreigners when I got to know he is available. We look forward to a great season from him,” Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory stated.

Mihelic added, “I am excited and happy to have joined Chennaiyin FC. I have played in many different countries in my career and from what I have heard from John and the club Chennaiyin FC, football is growing in India so I can’t wait to be a part of their progress. I thank Chennaiyin and John for believing in me and I hope to bring them and the fans lot of success.

ISL: Bengaluru FC start pre-season training

Chennayin FC, who roped in former Aston Villa manager John Gregory as their new coach a few months ago, had recently shown their ambition at the ISL draft by splashing out ₹57 lakhs to ensure a return to the club for Thoi Singh. The 63-year-old coach, who took over from Marco Materazzi, has got his wish with the signing of Mihelic and will now look to inject more foreign blood to the Chennai-based club.

The Super Machans have also retained star player Jeje Lalpekhlua along with goalkeeper Karanjit Singh and 19-year old full back Jerry Lalrinzuala ahead of a new ISL season.

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