India's footballers have great quality - Luis Figo

The Portugese legend spoke in an exclusive interview with The Times of India about his recent trip to India.
Kerala, Goa and West Bengal are without a doubt the football hubs of India. So when two legends of the game in Diego Maradona and Dunga visited Kannur in Kerala and Kolkata in West Bengal respectively, they were given welcomes that befitted their status and achievements in football. Sadly, the same could not be said for Luis Figo, the former Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Internazionale midfielder, who was invited to grace the final of the Youth Champions League (YCL) in Goa earlier this month.

The mediocre show and the below-par arrangements were an indicator on how a country should not treat a personality who has achieved so much in international football. Nevertheless, Figo is a man who takes things in his stride as he has done on so many occasions over the years.

The mediocre showing by the crowd at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa revealed the extent of the effort that the organizers had taken to promote the event. "The organization of the match deserved a full stadium," said Figo to The Times of India. "The organizers put a great deal of effort into the Youth Champions League and such ideas and projects like the YCL should occur more times in India," added the former World Player of the Year.

Figo took time to pass his opinion on some of the players that he played with during the exhibition match between Goa XI and India XI. "I was very surprised with some of the players who played in the match. They have great quality and with these kind of projects the youngsters will develop more," said Figo. A vast chunk of these players were from the reserve squads of the Goan I-League clubs with the exception of Churchill Brothers who released Beto, Denzil Franco, Lenny Rodrigues, Steven Dias and Dharmaraj Ravanan for the event.

Figo captained the Goa XI during the final of the YCL

The former Barcelona midfielder expressed his enjoyment at spending time in Goa and wished that he was given another chance to visit the state.

"The happiness and smile on the faces of the youngsters was my best memory in Goa. I met the children as part of the YCL Project. I was very happy to visit Goa. I would have loved to speak to the Portuguese community and the Indian people were kind to me. I hope to come back, soon," Figo signed off.

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