Last season's I-League top scorer and defending champions Chennai City star Pedro Manzi picked Gokulam Kerala FC as the strongest team in the I-League. The Uruguayan-Spanish striker has also revealed why he chose to continue with Chennai City despite getting better offers from ISL sides.
Chennai City had a brilliant season as they clinched the I-League title last season. The team's Spanish forward Pedro Manzi scored 21 goals in 18 appearances and was the key player under Akbar Nawas to bring the title home. However, the Spanish goal machine admitted the difficulty in the new season and picked Durand Cup winners Gokulam Kerala as the strongest team in the I-League.
"This season is going to be more difficult. Two Kolkata teams (East Bengal and Mohun Bagan), the Kashmir team (Real Kashmir) (are strong) and also, Gokulam (Kerala), for me, is the strongest team in the I-League," the striker told Goal.
The striker had four hat-tricks last season and was the joint top scorer with Churchill Brothers Willis Plaza. However, the striker revealed why he rejected the offers from ISL sides.
"I had some offers to go to ISL but finally, I decided to stay at Chennai City FC. I am very happy to stay and play for Chennai, this season we have to defend our title and I am the captain," Manzi said.
"Last season we played very good football. The Akbar Nawas philosophy is very beautiful to watch for the fans. This season we have a younger and inexperienced team. He is working very hard to teach new players because it is very difficult to play our style," Manzi said.
The attacking trio consisting of Spaniards Manzi, Sandro Rodriguez and Nestor Gordillo were lethal for Chennai City and their combined goal-scoring tally is an amazing number, 38. However, Nestor Gordillo left the club and joined ISL side Pune City (now Hyderabad FC). But, the player was suspended by the AIFF for breach of contract and the side signed another Spanish player Adolfo 'Fito' Miranda.
"I think we will miss Nestor very much because he is a very good player. Nestor, Sandro and I understood each other very well on the field. This season we have a new player in Fito and I think we can get along like how we did last season with Nestor," Manzi concluded.