Guwahati: Indian Super League (ISL) franchise NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) have signed former Portuguese international Simao Sabrosa as their marquee player for the second season on Thursday.

The attacking midfielder who played for Spanish giants Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona will don the No. 20 jersey. His last club was Spanish outfit Espanyol. He replaces former teammate Joan Capdevila who was the marquee player in the first season wherein the club finished in the bottom position among eight teams.

Simao represented Portugal in two World Cups and as many European Championships over a 12-year span. He was part of the team that finished runners-up at Euro 2004 and reached the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup.

He revealed his excitement about coming to India and participating in the ISL.

"I am looking forward to this new challenge. India is a wonderful country full of rich culture and heritage. The Indian Super League has brought football in India to everybody's attention and I cannot wait to participate in it," he said a NUEFC release.

"Why NorthEast United FC? I felt that it was the right time to take up a new challenge. Every conversation I had with John, made me feel that the club is one big family and that everyone would love to have me as a member."

The star said his aim was to help NEUFC win ISL.

"I love football and everywhere I went I gave it my all as a result of which, I won titles. I am training hard, every single day to be fitter and stronger before the season starts. Make no mistake about it, I come to India and to NorthEast United FC to win."

NEUFC retain Mtonga

Indian Super League (ISL) side North East United FC today retained its Zambia's Kondwani Mtonga for the second edition of the football tournament.

The midfielder received his first international call up in 2009. Since then he represented his country in 19 international matches and was also part of the team that won the 2012 African Cup of Nations.

"I am glad to stay with North East United FC for another season. I definitely have improved as a player over the past five months. I hope to build on from last season, and contribute towards the club picking up some silverware in the coming season," Mtonga was quoted as saying in a release.

"I will do my best to contribute in the team's success in any way I can and repay the faith shown in me by the team management."

"We are extremely pleased to announce that Zambian international, Kondwani Mtonga, has been retained for the second season of the ISL. His presence in the middle of the park and superior aerial abilities shall be on show once again," Northeast United FC franchise added.

Mtonga made 13 appearances and scored two goals in the inaugural edition of ISL last year.