A week to go before the sound of the referee's whistle kicks Mumbai City FC's season off and the excitement is visible. The lunch table was bustling and among the many faces, it's hard to miss out on his ever-smiling facade.
"Pehle khana, fir baaki sab! (Food first, everything else comes later!)"
In his stint in the city, Gerson has picked up a good amount of Hindi along with a sizeable appetite. And if last season was anything to go by, his appetite shows on the pitch even more so.
The 25-year-old center back from Porto Alegre was an integral part of the club's excellent defensive show last season, which saw the club keep a league record 9 clean sheets. "I am glad to be back in this wonderful city and with this great club! It felt like we had some unfinished business here and owed the fans something. We are raring to win the ISL this season and will give it our all to get the title to Mumbai!" exclaimed the defender who was part of the team that fell short to ATK over the two-legged semi-final. He had also scored his first goal for the club in the first leg of the semi-final with a thumping header.
Gerson was instrumental in Mumbai City FC's successful pre-season campaign in Spain as the club notched up 4 wins, 2 draws and a single defeat. His versatility was called upon on multiple occasions last season, slotting in the middle of the park and even doubling up as a full back. "There are a lot of quality players around me, which makes it easy to adjust in new positions and they bring the best out of me. The coach's faith in giving me such responsibilities is a big boost too. My rapport with some of the players has become really strong over the last season and now in Spain."
The club kicks off the 2017-18 season away to two-time I League champions, Bengaluru FC, who are one of the two newcomers in the Indian Super League along with Jamshedpur FC. "This is a great step in the right direction. More teams means more games and more competition, right!? There is nothing better than that."
Gerson was undoubtedly one of the fan favourites last season and he feels there's a yearning of sorts for the squad to re-unite with the fans. "We just cannot wait for the season to begin and play in front of our lovely fans. All of us have been training together for almost a couple of months now and even our new teammates are eager step out in front of a packed Mumbai Football Arena!"