Postiga signing gives AtK a competent offence full of speed, experience and firepower
ATLETICO DE KOLKATA have completed their marquee signing of the season. Spearheading their attack during ISL 2 will be a Portuguese international who has plied his trade extensively in EPL and La Liga. Fresh from a one-year stint at Deportivo, 32 year old striker Hélder Manuel Marques Postiga has joined the defending champions.
After spending his youth years in the academies of Primeira Liga clubs Varzim SC and FC Porto, Postiga got his senior debut in 2000-01 at Porto's B team which plays in the Segunda Liga. After a season of extensively playing for the B team (37 caps, 10 goals), he was promoted to the main team in Primeira Liga. Over the next two seasons he became a first team regular under newly appointed manager Jose Mourinho. In 2002-03, Postiga rose to prominence as an integral part of the Porto team that won the League, Cup and UEFA Cup treble. He scored 19 goals in their treble campaign, earning him plaudits all around Europe, attracting offers from major European clubs, and gaining him a place in the Portugal national team.
It was English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur who picked him up for a €12 million transfer fee. He was less than effective at the League, scoring only once in 19 appearances. His most important goal came in the 3-1 win over Manchester City, allowing Spurs to reach the quarter finals of the League Cup. After only 2 goals from 24 appearances at the end of the season, Postiga and Tottenham parted ways. It was time for a homecoming: back to FC Porto.
Porto got their old boy back for a €7.5 million transfer fee. But Postiga's first season back home was disappointing. In 24 Primeira Liga appearances he scored only thrice. The 2005-06 season started on a bad note for him, with a demotion to Porto B. In January 2006 he was sent off to Ligue 1 side Saint-Étienne, where he scored 3 goals in 16 matches.
Back at Porto, the next season started well for Postiga. He was back on the first team and starting regularly. But as the season progressed he lost his place in the starting line up. He ended the season with 12 goals from 31 matches across all competition. The next season was worse: he got to play in only 6 Primeira Liga matches. He had scored 2 goals from 11 overall appearances when he was loaned off to Superleague Greece club Panathinaikos for the rest of the season. He scored 2 goals for them, in 17 matches.
In summer 2008 he made a shock move to Porto's league rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal (Lisbon) for a €2.5 million fee. But his bad performance continued, as he soon lost his regular-started status, scoring only 5 goals from 32 appearances in all competitions that season. The next season was worse: he scored only one professional goal in the entire campaign. 2010-11 was relatively better as he netted 11 goals in 42 appearances.
Early into the 2011-12 season he was sold to La Liga side Real Zaragoza for €1 million. He went on to have 2 comparatively fruitful seasons with them, scoring 9 and 14 goals respectively.
Valencia bought Postiga in August 2013 for a €2.6 million fee. Hélder came out all guns blazing for his new club, scoring twice in a match against Barcelona, which they went on to lose 3-2.But his performance graph went down as the season went along, and in the end he had notched up only 4 goals in 23 appearances before being loaned to Serie A side Lazio in January 2014. He got to run out only 5 times in the Italian league, and failed to score a goal.
His last season before the move to ATK was spent at La Liga side Deportivo, for whom he netted 2 goals in 16 matches.
All this time, however, he had built up an illustrious international career in Portugal colours. After debuting in 2003, he represented Portugal in the 2004 Euro, where in the quarter final against England he scored the 81st minute equalizer. The match went into penalties where Portugal came out on top, 6-5. In the 2006 World Cup, he played a crucial role in the country reaching the semi-finals. Meeting England in quarter finals, he scored from the spot as Portugal again knocked out England in penalties. Following a few years of irregular appearances for the national team, he featured prominently in their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, scoring 6 goals. In 71 appearances for Portugal, he scored 27 goals.
When put in the same attacking line up as Iain Hume, Valdo and Samheeg Doutie, Postiga gives Atletico de Kolkata a . His signing gives ATK's team-building process a look of finality, with the team being fully loaded in all departments, ripe for a pre-season run out in the park. With the second season kick-off of ISL only 2 months away, the Sourav Ganguly-owned side's title defense strategy under Head Coach Habas seems to have finally shaped up.