FIFA U-17 World Cup: Former FC Barcelona Captain Carles Puyol likely to visit India in May
The former World Cup winner will be in India for the official ticket launch ceremony of the Under-17 World Cup.
One of the legendary modern day defenders, Carles Puyol, could visit India in the middle of next month to promote the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in in the country later this year.
Sources close to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup Local Organising Committee said that unlike many other rumours that have been flying around regarding the Under-17 World Cup, this rumour certainly has some substance. However, any official confirmation regarding Puyol’s visit will only be announced in two days.
If the rumours are confirmed, Puyol, the former Barcelona captain who won the 2010 FIFA World Cup with Spain, will arrive in India for the ticket launch ceremony of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup on the 15th of May. The event will be held in Delhi, one of the six host cities of the Under-17 World Cup.
Should his arrival be confirmed, the now-retired 39-year-old will be the first big name former player to come down to India for the promotion of what will be the first-ever FIFA tournament to be organised by India. The Under-17 World Cup kicks off on the 6th of October and will go on for 23 days until the final match on the 28th of October.
The draw for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup finals will be held on the 7th of July, by which time all the continental qualification processes will get over. The 24-team event will see an Indian football team participate in a FIFA tournament for the first time ever, and this could usher in a new era for football in India.
India is widely known as the sleeping giant in the world of football, hence staging a tournament as big as the Under-17 World Cup could trigger a footballing revolution in the country. Already, a government-endorsed initiative called Mission XI Million is being spread across the country to help educate children in India about football and encourage the kids to take up football early on in their lives.
The shaggy-haired Puyol’s visit could spell the start of a procession of former stars who could visit India in the time before the World Cup kicks off in early October. The ex-defender won six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues with Barcelona, and a World Cup and a European Championship with Spain among many other honours during his illustrious and decorated career. His glittering CV gives a suggestion of other plans in the pipeline for the promotion of the Under-17 World Cup in India.