Sports Football 15 Jul 2017 Premier Futsal will ...

Premier Futsal will help Indian football grow, says Barcelona legend Ronaldinho

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | NICOLAI NAYAK
Published Jul 15, 2017, 12:54 pm IST
Updated Jul 15, 2017, 1:40 pm IST
Ronaldinho was in the city to promote Futsal and expressed his desire to scale the game to greater heights.
Barcelona and ACMilan legend Ronaldinho has extended his stay with the Premier Futsal League for another three years. (Photo: AP)
 Barcelona and ACMilan legend Ronaldinho has extended his stay with the Premier Futsal League for another three years. (Photo: AP)

Mumbai: Indian football fans had a reason to smile about on Friday as Brazilian football icon Ronaldinho extended his stay with Premier Futsal in India, signing a three-year deal.

The former Ballon d’Or winner was in the city to promote the five-a-side football game and expressed his desire to scale the game to greater heights.

 

“I’m very happy to be here and receive the love for the people, the fans every time I come to India. You guys show me a lot of love. I thank you guys for inviting me and in fact, the first season was a great one since it got everybody involved and I’m motivated to be back here for the second season.This year it’s gonna be a bigger success than the former years. It is never going to stop.

"Thank you very much and I’m proud to announce the Mumbai team and the other franchises," said the World Cup winner.

 

The Brazilian legend lit up the Premier Futsal last season in his debut match and displayed flashes of his brilliance by scoring five jaw-dropping goals. However, Ronaldinho had to soon fly back to his hometown due to his commitments as an ambassador for the Brazilian Paralympic Committee.

When asked about how the game could attract popularity, the former Barcelona ace spoke about how Futsal is a lively and growing sport.

“Every sport helps, but it's very easy to fall in love with Futsal. It's very dynamic. Every child can start playing it easily, and so I believe it will help in the development of the youth,” added Ronaldinho.

 

India narrowly missed out on a quarter-final spot in the 5-a-side World Cup held in China during May this year, while the Indian football team attained its second best ranking of 96 in a span of two decades. And with such advancements, the former AC Milan star believes Futsal will help India grow much bigger.

“I believe Premier Futsal will help Indian football grow, especially after the success of the tournament last year. Not only football but with success of this event it will also help other sports to grow in India,” he commented.

 

The likes of Luis Figo, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Hernan Crespo, Cafu featured in the indoor football tournament last year and more star-studded names are expected to appear in the second season which kicks-off on September 15 at the NSCI Stadium in Mumbai.

Goa, Delhi and Bangalore are the other venues in the country to be hosting the tournament while the semi-finals and finals are scheduled to take place in Dubai.

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