GUWAHATI, Nov 4 - Diego Forlan, the slim and blonde-haired marquee player of Mumbai City FC, is here in the city to play their away Indian Super League (ISL) match against NorthEast United FC tomorrow.
In an exclusive interview to the The Assam Tribune at the Radission Blu Hotel today, the highest paid ISL player this season said that the standard of the Indian football can be taken to the next stage with the help of ISL. Praising the efforts of initiating the ISL, the Golden Boot winner of the 2010 World Cup said that the Indian players are getting enough opportunities to rub their shoulders with world class players and in coming days they will be able to cope up with the technique of leading players. �I saw a lot of Indian players in the League who have enough talent. The Indian players with or against I played till now have amazing skills,� the Uruguayan superstar said.
India have not been able to reach World Cup finals or even win an Asian title for several decades. �The officials have to work hard with ambitious plans in order to provide proper support to the youngsters. Players need to be groomed at an early stage as it is done by all leading football playing nations,� Forlan said.
On the infrastructure here in India he said that the venues where he has played are world class. �The organisers of the ISL are doing a good job by creating such a class atmosphere where players can put their maximum effort for their franchises,� he said. But he opined that the duration of the ISL should be extended up to 8 to 9 months rather than just three months. Advocating his opinion Forlan said that if the ISL has a longer period, players will get more opportunity to play, train and learn from the foreign recruits. He further said, it is necessary to prepare the training grounds in a better way to facilitate the players to train in ideal conditions.
On Latin American football, the former Manchester United star said, �Football is in our blood. In our countries everybody loves football and they come up to help the footballers. But in India, football has been pushed behind and kids hardly like to take this game and that may be one of the reasons that India is not excelling in this game,� he added.
He, however, praised Bengaluru FC for entering the AFC Cup final and hoped that gradually India will be able to become a force to reckon with.
On his Manchester United stint Forlan said that he was associated with the EPL club from 2002 to 2004 and scored 10 goals for the club. �During my period Manchester United won three titles,� he recalled. Asked about Argentina�s unsavoury story in World Cup qualifiers, the 37-year old and still fit looking Forlan said, they have a good team and hope the former champions will qualify for the 2018 Cup. �Its football, it can happen but I am sure Lionel Messi will lead Argentina to the finals.� On his team he said that they have almost ensured their place for the World Cup in Russia as they are at the second spot at present. Finally when being asked, who is better, Forlan or Luis Suarez.
�Please don�t compare. There should not be any comparison between Suarez and me. Both of us did well for the country in the 2010 World Cup and took the country to the last-four stage. Suarez is playing well for Barcelona in the La Liga and hope he will help Uruguay do well in the next World Cup. As former two time champions we are a force to reckon with in the pitch. This time also we hope to do well,� said Forlan. He also welcomed the plan of his country, along with Argentina, to bid for the 2030 World Cup.