In a real boost to Indian football, 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup member Sanjeev Stalin has joined the development team of Portuguese club Desportivo das Aves on a two-year contract, joining the list of a small number of the country’s footballers plying their trade abroad.

Clube Desportivo das Aves (popularly known as CD Aves) is a club based in Vila das Aves, an industrial town in northern Portugal. The club has played three seasons in Primeira Liga, the top league of Portugal from 2017-18 to 2019-20 (last season). It finished at the bottom (14th) last season and relegated to LigaPro or the second division of the Portugal league system.

Stalin, who played for Indian Arrows in the I-League after the U-17 World Cup in 2017, announced the singing on social media. He put up a picture of him holding number 5 jersey of CD Aves along with some officials with caption: ‘New Signing for CD Aves’.

 
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#Repost @carmenta_talents We finally did it ! @stalinsanjeev signs a 2 years pro contract with the Portuguese club @cdaves_oficial ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We are so proud and so happy to see this young Indian boy making his way to Europe. He is finally rewarded for his patience, his hardwork and his unwavering confidence 💪 Nothing would have been possible without you @luisnortonmatos ! Special greetings to Manuel Damasio and @cdaves_oficial — @indianfootball 🇮🇳⚽️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #patience #carmentanextgeneration #carmentanextlevel #nevergiveup #performance #carmenta #carmentatalents #indiantalent #india #indiansoccer #indianfootball #indianacademy #indianfootball⚽ #AIFF #pride #soccer #football

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The Indian team head coach for the U-17 World Cup, Luis Norton de Matos, congratulated Stalin on Instagram.

“Congratulations my dear Sanjeev!! You signed a contract with a professional team from the Portuguese Premier League!! You have fulfilled your dream of playing in European football. You deserve. Looking back on the time we spent together on a extraordinary adventure that was playing the U17 World Cup in your beautiful country,” wrote the Portuguese coach.

“It was a pleasure to coach you and see your football growth that made you the best left full-back of U-19 in Indian football. Continue with your inner strength, with your courage and your dedication to work and will see that you will be rewarded. Keep your smile. I wish the best success.”

Stalin, the left-back from Karnataka is best remembered for taking the corner-kick which resulted to India’s only goal at the U-17 World Cup with Jeakson Singh scoring with a header against Colombia at JLN Stadium.