In a big boost to ATK Mohun Bagan’s backline, India’s ace central defender Sandesh Jhingan on Thursday rejoined his former club after mutually terminating his contract with Croatian side, HNK Sibenik.

The 28-year-old was a vital cog in the Mariners’ defence when they made the final of the previous ISL season but before the last transfer window, he joined the Croatian outfit — a first for any Indian footballer.

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Upon rejoining his former club, Sandesh Jhingan took to Twitter to write an emotional message for Mohun Bagan fans.

“I am very happy to join ATK Mohun Bagan. They are like a family to me and have always supported me, no matter what, especially for the past few months when me and my family both struggled a lot both because of my injury and and off the field setbacks”, Jhingan wrote.

The former Kerala Blasters defender was dogged by a recurring calf injury and failed to make a single appearance for the Prva HNL outfit, prompting him to return to his former club.

He also thanked HNK Sibenik to give him the opportunity and wished his former teammates for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan announced the return of Jhingan on Twitter, and wrote, “Sandesh Jhingan is back, the story continues.”

“He will play the rest of the season in green-and-maroon jersey, giving a big boost to the defence of (ATKMB coach) Juan Ferrando,” the club said in a statement.

The 28-year-old centre-back is just two shy of 100 appearances in the ISL and has been a losing finalists on three occasions, twice with Kerala Blasters FC and once with ATK Mohun Bagan. Jhingan had formed a solid backline with Tiri in the last season.

While Jhingan was away, Tiri was recovering from an injury as the team slipped to the bottom half after winning the first two matches, leading to the departure of their most successful coach, Antonio Lopez Habas.

ATK Mohun Bagan won their first two matches under Ferrando, before dropping points in the last game. The club is placed third after nine rounds, in the 11-team standings.

With PTI Inputs

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