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5 promising Indian origin footballers in European youth academies

Deevya Mulani
Top 5 / Top 10
50.64K   //    23 Feb 2017, 12:17 IST
Ishan Pandita is the first Indian to sign a professional contract with a La Liga club

India as a country of 1.3 billion people (approx) is often criticised for not being able to field a competitive football team in spite of its football crazy fans and vast potential. A career in football is a far away dream for most Indian players due to the lack of opportunity and inefficiency that plagues the game in the country.

A reason often cited for the lack of at the highest level in Indian football is the genetic disadvantage of Indians when it comes to the physical aspects of playing sports like football. Indians are thought be weaker, slower and technically inferior to their European counterparts and hence unable compete at the highest level.

Also Read: 5 things India should do to become giants in football

A new breed of Indian and Indian-origin footballers are now overcoming the hurdle of opportunities and making their way to major European leagues with the aim of making it big in football. We list a few such prodigies who are subject of interest of big clubs of European football.

#1 Ishan Pandita

In October 2016, 18-year-old Ishan Pandita realised his dream and wrote his name in Indian footballing history becoming the first Indian footballer to sign a professional contract with a La Liga club. Pandita joined the U-19 side of La Liga club CD Leganes who are currently 17th in the Spanish top flight and represents the team in the Division Honour de Juvenil, which is Spain’s top division for U-19 footballers.

Also Read: 5 things to know about Ishan Pandita

The 18-year-old striker’s journey to the La Liga has taken him from the Philippines to Bengaluru and then to Spain where he got selected for Almeria’s youth academy and tried out for various Spanish clubs including Getafe, who he turned down, as he exclusively wanted to play for a club in the La Liga.

Pandita has set high target; the striker wants to cement his place in the youth team and make at least one appearance for the senior team by the end of the season, with an aim to eventually becoming a regular at the top level which would be an unprecedented achievement for an Indian footballer.

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