Real Madrid or Barcelona? Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu takes his pick
Indian national team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu may be on the cusp of breaking a few records with his club team Stabaek, but his dream clearly is to one day turn up in the colours of Real Madrid at the iconic Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
In a freewheeling interaction with his fans via Facebook live, the six-foot-four shot-stopper professed his love for Real Madrid but didn't rule out a move to Los Blancos’ arch-rivals Barcelona.
When asked which team does he one day dream to play for, he said: “Real Madrid. They are the best club in the world, and who doesn't want to play for the best team."
As Gurpreet was pushed by the Stabaek media man, who orchestrated the Facebook live, whether or not he fancied Barcelona, the India international quipped: "If Barcelona makes an offer, I'll go to Barcelona too.”
With the Real Madrid-Barcelona rivalry at the centre stage of European club football, Gurpreet has run the risk of losing some of his fans because of his affinity to Real Madrid. It is a difficult task to keep both sets of fans happy, but at least the custodian offered a neutral perspective when one fan asked him to choose between Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi, saying that both players are the best in their own right.
Gurpreet is all set to become the first Indian player to start two consecutive games in a top division European league after starting his first Eliteserien game last weekend at Molde. Stabaek entertain Lillestrom in a derby this Saturday, and Gurpreet is all set to keep goal after he was rested for the midweek NM Cup action at Notodden.
25-year-old Gurpreet has, until now, played as an understudy to Ivorian international Sayouba Mande in the Stabaek goal, making occasional appearances in the NM Cup. His ascension to first-choice was confirmed by Stabaek coach Toni Ordinas, therefore, Mande's appearance in the NM Cup is set to become a regular affair.
Gurpreet's rapid rise up the ladder at Stabaek will open doors for him to join elite European clubs in the future. Whether he makes it to his dream destination of Real Madrid remains to be seen, but judging by his achievements so far, it isn't long until a big European team comes knocking on his door.
He captained the Indian national team against Puerto Rico last year and will hope to lead the Blue Tigers into 2019's AFC Asian Cup. India face the Kyrgyz Republic in a qualifying match for the Asian Cup on 13th June.