Mumbai: Indian Super League (ISL) club Atletico de Kolkata and La Liga champions Atletico de Madrid of Spain on Saturday announced a joint grassroots development programme in India for unearthing new football talents.
"This is a harbinger of a new beginning in Indian football and I am sure with Atletico de Madrid taking up the mantle along with us to develop the next generation of Indian footballers, the future (of the sport) is in safe hands.
"Koke (a top Spanish midfielder) is himself a creation of this programme and the superlative training has propelled him to the level that he has achieved today," Sanjiv Goenka, co-owner Atletico de Kolkata and chairman of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, was quoted as saying in a release here.
"Atletico de Madrid, along with Atletico de Kolkata, will contribute to improve the level of football in India and search for new talents.
"Atletico de Madrid's sporting model of developing football at the very grassroots through the best coaches and support staffs is surely going to develop the new generation of players in India," said Miguel Angel Gil Marin, CEO, Atletico de Madrid.
Midfielder Jorge Resurreccion Merodio (Koke) shared his unique experiences of grassroots development programme in Madrid, Spain.
Sourav Ganguly, former India cricket captain who co- owns the ISL club, said the partnership will help unearth new talents for the future.
"Our sole aim would be to imbibe the unique worldwide recognised ability in talent development like Atletico de Madrid. Our grassroots development programme will be a step to promote the brand of Indian football and Indian Super League at world stages," said Ganguly in the release.
"Our partnership with Atletico de Madrid will help us to identify and create the fascinating opportunities to help young talents to be nurtured for future," he added.
The ISL franchise, which has entered the final of the inaugural edition of the tournament, is partly owned by Atletico de Madrid.