Member of the winning squad of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Spanish football star, Joan Capdevila, Capdevila has joined as the marquee player for the Guwahati franchise, NorthEast United team, of the Indian Super League (ISL). He believes that playing in this league will allow him to use his extensive experience to guide young Indian players.
Capdevila’s Career and Plans
Capdevila’s football career includes playing for La Liga clubs such as Espanyol, Deportivo La Coruna and Villarreal. In addition to this, he has played for Atlético Madrid on 31 occasions.
He told reporters, “I have played in top football leagues across the world like Spanish and Portuguese, the main reason is to join a new challenge that is growing up and I want to help this growth. With my experience, I want to help the budding talent of India to grow, by teaching them and guiding them.”
He adds, “I am really grateful to NorthEast United to give me this opportunity to join this new challenge for the whole country. I hope to bring my experience here to help NorthEast to grow and ISL to grow as well. I am in the last leg of my career and wanted to come and enjoy myself.”
The co-owner of the Guwahati franchise, John Abraham, says that the team will now play three friendly matches in Goa before they return to their home grounds for training.
Football Leagues in India
The much-revered left-back that has also made 60 international appearances representing Spain believes that the ISL has a unique format compared to other leagues and acts as a great start for India in the world of football.
The latest FIFA rankings put India at 158th place in the world. Capdevila says, “This is very different from other leagues. In India, it is just starting and this is a very nice beginning. It is a very nice project which is going to be for a lot of years. Indian football is going to grow and would call a lot of attention of other players for sure. It is a nice project for the future to be put like a league for the whole year. After many years, it is going to be the main league of India for sure.”
Meanwhile, Abraham believes that the ISL could eventually turn into an 8- or 9-month league like the English Premier League (EPL) and La Liga. When asked about whether or not opting for overseas players that are past their prime is the correct approach to sustain the league in the long run, he said, “Initially, it would help. It is very important to get players with that kind of experience on board. Having players like Capdevila and other marquee players, it will help. I think it will help in the short run initially to spark off the interest and be a catalyst but in the long run of course we need to re-strategize and understand what we need to do.”
The first match for the first season of this league will be held on October 12th while the finals will be held on December 20th.