5 Indian football players who got an opportunity at Spanish clubs
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you would know that football in India is on the rise. There is a huge fan following for the sport in the country and there is a genuine will among youngsters to pick up the game professionally.
While the country has generally struggled to provide basic facilities to young footballers in the past, that trend is now changing thanks to the advent of cash-rich leagues such as the Indian Super League (ISL) and renewed interest in other domestic competitions.
Moreover, India's hosting of the FIFA U-17 World Cup late last year ensured that the nation is firmly on world football's radar as one of the next places to scout and that continues to be the driving force behind the success of many local footballers performing in the country.
With a number of young Indian players expected to move abroad in the coming years, we wanted to take a look back at the recent past to see just how many players have already made the move to a football-rich nation such as Spain. In the land of Ronaldo and Messi, a few Indian names have made their presence felt. So here are 5 Indian footballers who had (or are currently having) a stint in Spain:
#5 Ashique Kuruniyan
It is never easy for a young player growing up in humble surroundings to immediately adapt to life abroad, and the same could be said about young Ashique Kuruniyan after the Kerala player pursued a career in Spain with Villarreal "C".
The current FC Pune City winger enjoyed a loan spell at the club, which proved to be a huge learning curve in his fledgeling career. Literally starting from the bottom, Kuruniyan impressed coaches enough to be given the opportunity to hone his craft in one of football's most important countries and there is no doubt that this is an experience the Malyali player will never forget.