New Delhi: Controversial Romania striker Adrian Mutu is hopeful a strong spell with new club Pune City in the Indian Super League (ISL) could lead to an unlikely appearance at Euro 2016 and the chance to become his country`s record goalscorer.
The 36-year-old forward, twice banned for failed drug tests while playing for Fiorentina in Italy and English club Chelsea, will return to competitive action in the burgeoning franchise league next month after more than a year out of the game.
Mutu, whose last club was Romanian outfit Petrolul Ploiesti, said a conversation with Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu had given him hope, two years after his last international match.
"He has told me that if I continue playing football even after ISL, then he will consider me for the European Championship next year," Mutu told Emirati outlet Sport360.
"It`s a huge motivation for me to keep going and I am taking it very seriously."
Romania are currently second in Group F of Euro 2016 qualifying with two matches remaining. Four points from their October fixtures at home to Finland and away to Faroe Islands would ensure qualification.
Mutu, who is level on 35 goals for his country with former great Gheorghe Hagi, will kick off the second season of ISL with Pune in October with the short campaign running through to December.
He acknowledged he would need to find another club thereafter to show Iordanescu he was capable to deliver at the finals in France next year.
"I never expected that my campaign to return to the national team would begin in India. After ISL, I don`t know where I`ll play," said Mutu, who played at Euro 2000 and 2008.
"But I am thinking closer to the future. I hope to stay fit, score some goals and help my team win the title."
Mutu, who also had spells with Juventus, Parma and Inter Milan, was meant to play in the inaugural ISL campaign last year, where Pune finished sixth out of eight teams, but visa issues prevented him from moving.
He said he had opted to turn down offers from other European clubs to play for Pune, who are coached by former English international David Platt.
"One of the reasons I chose to come to India is that the club has been very nice to me despite the fact that I couldn`t come last year because of a bureaucratic problem," he said.