Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Indian Super League will be a huge success and football will find space for itself in India. Fiver former Arsenal players are part of the inaugural season of the Indian Super league: Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Nicolas Anelka, Mikel Silvestre and Andre Santos.
“Being completely at the top finishes when you are 34 at the latest,” the manager told the Arsenal Magazine. “After that, you have different leagues like the MLS and the Indian Super League.
“I encourage players to play as long as possible if they really love it. Pires is 40 but he still plays and when he comes to training here, he’s still very good.
“The only thing I always say is that once you’re on the pitch, you give your best. Your age doesn’t matter – people can understand that you’re not as quick at 40 as you were at 30. Play with passion, with your heart and technical quality – that will be enough.
“They give a good image of the game. They can make football popular on different continents and in different countries, where it’s taking off. I think it’s fantastic.”
India being a cricket crazy nation, but according to Wenger just like the United States, football will also become popular in India. Wenger is aware of the number of fans that follow Premier League in India and he is quite sure football can be the next big sport in India.
“If you look at the history of football, it has always become quicker and it looks like it grows everywhere. It’s like a virus that multiplies, so I don’t imagine that it won’t take off,” he said.
“It took a while in the United States but it’s now very popular. It faces cricket in India but there’s always room for a second sport. There’s only really badminton and cricket in India at the moment but there’s room for another sport.
“I know that the people there watch the Premier League and I’m convinced that with such a huge population, it will take off.”