After weeks of speculation, the new home of two members of the Philippine Azkals has finally been revealed.
Johor Darul Ta’zim, one of the powerhouse clubs in the ASEAN region, announced that it has completed the signings of Bienvenido Marañon and Carli de Murga.
Marañon will beef up JDT’s forward line. He leaves Philippine soil after providing 65 goals and 24 assists in 85 matches in all competitions for Ceres-Negros/United City.
The 35-year-old was also the Azkals’ top scorer in last year’s Suzuki Cup campaign with four goals, three of which came against Myanmar.
Likewise, De Murga will help strengthen JDT’s backline after a successful season with another Malaysian side, Terengganu. There, he made a total of 22 appearances towards a fourth-place finish in the Malaysia Super Leaguel; and a semi-finals appearance in the Malaysia Cup.
The 33-year-old was also part of the Philippines first-ever Asian Cup journey back in 2019z
The two good friends are finally teammates once again for the first time since they were both winning league titles and the 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Title back with Ceres-Negros. The club was then the ownership of transportation magnate Leo Rey Yanson and esteemed coach Risto Vidakovic.
They could have been together as early as the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup played a few months ago. But De Murga sustained a nasty injury while playing for Terengganu in the Malaysia Cup semi-finals.
It is a stunning statement of intent from JDT, which has owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who is the immediate heir to the throne of Johor.
The 2015 AFC Cup champion looks to extend its dominance in the Malaysia Super League to a ninth successive year and make waves in the 2022 AFC Champions League.