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ISL: Kerala Blasters Announce Signing for Former Lyon Defender Bakary Kone

Bakary Kone (Photo Credit: Kerala Blasters)

Bakary Kone (Photo Credit: Kerala Blasters)

Indian Super League: 32-year-old Bakary Kone, who played for Olympique Lyonnais from 2011-16, has joined Kerala Blasters.

Kerala Blasters FC (KBFC) announced the signing of Bakary Kone on Thursday, the addition of whom adds strength and depth to their defensive department. The 32-year-old was born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, a West African Country that shares its borders with the African footballing giants Ghana and Ivory Coast. Kone played for one of Ligue 1's most known clubs Olympique Lyonnais from 2011-16, during which they won the Coupe de France (2011-12), Trophee des Champions (2012) and the league runners-up twice (2014-15 and 2015-16).

Kone made 141 appearances for Olympique Lyon in all competitions including the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League and came up against some of the feared strikers in the world, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani. He now makes a move to India and said former Mumbai City FC player-manager Nicolas Anelka played a part in his decision.

"I am really excited about signing for Kerala Blasters and coming to India for the first time. I have heard a lot about the Indian Super league from Anelka and he had very positive things to say. I know KBFC has one of the biggest fanbases in the ISL and I am motivated to give my 100 per cent to the club each time I take the field. Can't wait to join my teammates and the coaching staff in Goa and get started," said Kone, who will be joining the squad soon in Goa for pre-season training.

Kone started his professional career when he joined his hometown club Etoile Filante's Youth team in 2004 from CFTPK Abidjan. Post an impressive season with the youth team, the young defender was promoted to the senior team for the 2005-06 season where he made 27 appearances and scored his first professional goal. Having caught the eye of French scouts, Kone was rewarded with a move to France as he joined Guingamp in Ligue 2. He spent his first two seasons with the reserve team as he developed his game and was quickly promoted to the first team in 2008. He spent an additional three years at the club, winning the Coupe de France in 2009.

He then moved to Lyon from where he made the move to Malaga, where he had a brief stint in the La Liga. He then moved back to Ligue 1 with Strasbourg on loan where he came up against the mighty PSG with the front three of Di Maria, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. The last two seasons Kone moved to Turkey and Russia before his move to India.

Internationally, Kone made his debut for the Burkina Faso national team at the age of 19. In 2014, the Burkinabe International, captained his national side for the first time in an Africans Nation Cup Qualification match against Angola. With 81 appearances, Kone is currently the third most capped player for his country.

"Kone is a player with notable experience and skill, having played for renowned clubs in top European Leagues. His presence will surely improve the defensive setup of our squad this season. Kone is motivated to get in shape quickly and give his best to help us fight for top positions in the League. I have no doubts about his ability and the quality he adds to the squad," Blasters' Sporting Director Karolis Skinkys said.