New Delhi: Indian footballers training hard
at Barcelona took time out to witness an "awe-inspiring"
spectacle -- the unveiling of Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the iconic Nou Camp.
The 1.92 metre-tall striker signed for the Catalans from
Inter Milan and some Indian players were at hand to witness
his unveiling before 50,000 supporters yesterday.
"I have never seen such a spectacle in my life. It was
awe-inspiring to witness the passion for football among the
people here," India central defender Gouramangi Singh told reporters
"They (the fans) were roaring like mad. Imagine what
would have been the effect when Ronaldo and Kaka were unveiled
in Real Madrid," he said.
The Indians, who have been training for nearly 20 days at
the ground just outside Nou Camp and in front of Barcelona`s
La Masia academy, sneaked into the iconic stadium once
practice got over but could not have a close view of the Swede
Fans had gathered at the stadium hours in advance to see
Ibrahimovic`s unveiling, who signed a five-year deal with
Barcelona on a swap deal with Samuel Eto`o heading to Inter.
"Watching the unveiling was amazing. Imagine the kind of
respect players get here. Personally speaking, it feels good
to be a footballer," said the Churchill Brothers player, who
was adjudged the best defender of the last I-League.
The unveiling apart, the defender said the team is
concentrating on the second friendly against Spanish third
division side Assiciacio Esportiva El Prat tomorrow.
"The first friendly was more of getting used to match
situation. We will be in a better shape and form in the second
friendly. I don`t want to think too much about the result but
we ought to win tomorrow," he said.
Meanwhile, striker Sunil Chhetri started intensive
training yesterday and went through the paces along with
teammates under the watchful eyes of coach Bob Houghton.
"Sunil has been working hard all along and he wanted to
to be among us for the full training as soon as possible. He
looked good at his first intensive session yesterday,"
India play their third and fourth friendlies on August 1
and 5 before flying home on August 7.