ISL 2017: How Sachin Tendulkar's personal intervention helped Kerala Blasters sign Dimitar Berbatov
What's the story?
Last month, Kerala Blasters shook the very foundations of Indian football by announcing the signing of ex-Manchester United man Dimitar Berbatov. Although Rene Muelensteen was seen as the crucial factor in bringing the Bulgarian hitman to the club, it was club co-owner Sachin Tendulkar's intervention that made the forward make a move to the Kochi-based ISL outfit.
In case you didn't know...
On August 23rd, Kerala Blasters announced the inclusion of Berbatov into their squad for 2017-18 Indian Super League season. The former Manchester United number 9 penned a deal with the Men in Yellow in a ?2.31 crore deal, contrary to an earlier report of an inflated salary.
The heart of the matter
Tendulkar, who has been involved with the Blasters from the first season, made a call which meant the club met Berbatov with more conviction and helped them sign the all-time Bulgarian top-scorer.
Berbatov's agent, Emil Danchev was quoted as saying to Bulgarian media last month: "The Kerala Blasters boss is crazy about Manchester United and Dimitar Berbatov. Sachin is a big fan of Berbatov personally."
Besides, Danchev was also glad that Tendulkar himself came to do the trade."Sachin Tendulkar led the talks. He was ready to offer all they can. During negotiations, Sachin took absolutely everything we wanted. For him, it was important to have Dimitar on his team."
Berbatov is currently working hard to reclaim his fitness back home in Bulgaria and is now training with Bulgarian outfit CSKA Sofia. He'll also play for Hristov Stoichkov's team against Barcelona's Dream Team on September 20th. The two-time Premier League champion with Manchester United will join the Yellow Army during their preparatory camp in Spain.
The involvement of Tendulkar that helped Kerala Blasters seal the deal for one of the marquee ISL signings of the summer shows how the cricketing legend is giving his all for the Blasters' cause. Having lost two finals in three years, Tendulkar - who hated losing during his playing career - is seemingly leaving no stone unturned to make his club the Indian champions for the first time in history.