Abu Dhabi: He is the lone face of Indian sports in a high-profile gathering of international stars at the Laureus World Sports Awards and football skipper Bhaichung Bhutia said it is the ultimate honour to be in a crowd that features the likes of the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton, Boris Becker and Patrick Vieira.
The veteran striker, in fact, rubbed shoulders with former French stars Vieira and Marseille Desailly in a one-hour charity football match in which the Indian sent down one of the 23 goals scored to raise a whopping 500,000 euros for the Laureus Sports Foundation and the Emirates Sports Foundation.
"It feels great to be a part of such an event although I have done such charity appearances even earlier but it is always special. It is great that I scored but in such an event where the aim is to raise funds for a good cause, it does not really matter whether you score or not...just being a part of it is a big thing," said Bhutia.
Bhutia turned out for a team which had the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton as manager and later said the Englishman inquired about how Indian football was shaping up after the Asian Cup.
"I had an interaction with Sir Bobby and he was inquiring about Indian football. It is because we played in the Asian Cup last month and that made an impression. He took notice of Indian football because we were seen in an event which is second only to the World Cup in terms of competition. So, it is important to be seen in action at such an event," said Bhutia.
The captain reiterated that Indian football took a giant leap by appearing at the Asian Cup.
We're building him (RvP) up now because of the World Cup. It’s a pity but we have to or he’ll never be fit.
Louis van Gaal