Atletico de Kolkata midfielder Arata Izumi has stolen attention in the Indian Super League following his impressive display with the ISL champions that saw him net the opener for ATK in two straight games this season.
With two goals from three appearances for the Kolkata franchisee in his debut season in the ISL, the Pune FC veteran has surely made his mark in the three-month long cash-rich football tournament in India.
The 33-year-old Japan born midfielder turned heads following his brilliant link-up with Spaniard Javi Lara in the heart of the midfield for for Kolkata so far in both games he started -- against FC Goa on 7 October in a 1-1 draw at Fatorda, and against Kerala Blasters on 13 October in a 2-1 win at a packed Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
"Of course there were huge expectations resting on me but that's the life of a footballer," Arata told Goal India. "So I am happy that I am doing well for the team and living up to the expectations of the supporters so far. But I am not very concerned about my two goals in the tournament.
"What I am more concerned about is the club's success. So it was an important night for us [against Kerala Blasters] and I am pleased that we have grabbed the three points," Arata, who was bought by the Kolkata franchisee for Rs 68 lakhs in the ISL Player Auctions this year, added.
Arata became the first-ever foreign-born player to appear for the Indian senior national team when he made his national debut last year. He mentioned that playing in front of Brazil legend Pele at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Tuesday was a moment to savour.
And being able to get on the scoresheet one the same night has been the icing on the cake.
"I can't describe in words. Playing in front of Mr. Pele was a huge honour. It means so much to each one of us," he said.
"Luckily I could score in front of him and we could grab the three points as well," the former East Bengal player added.
Watch Arata Izumi's two goals so far in the ISL this season for Atletico de Kolkata: