Henrique Sereno is not a stranger to Indian football, given that the Portuguese defender played a huge role in ATK's second Indian Super League (ISL) title triumph in 2016. Now, he is leading Chennaiyin FC's bid for their second title in the ongoing season.
The 32-year-old has had a stellar career where he has played in some of Europe's best clubs like FC Porto (where he won the Europa League), FC Koln and the likes alongside some of the biggest names in football.
A keen follower of the game, Henrique Sereno has also been keeping a close watch on the burgeoning Indian football scenario. So much so that he watches the I-League games whenever he can and feels that the Indian Arrows team, coached by Luis Norton de Matos, play the best football in the league.
In fact, Sereno is very familiar with the Portuguese coach who led the India U17 team in the FIFA U17 World Cup hosted by India back in October 2017. Luis Norton de Matos was his coach at Vitoria Guimaraes early on in Sereno's career and the Portuguese defender swears by his ability to nurture youth.
"He (Luis Norton de Matos) was my first coach at Vitoria Guimaraes. He brought me from a small club called Formalica. He trusted me and he was the first coach to trust me. At the time, he taught me a lot at Guimaraes. He is a very good coach," Sereno told Goal on the sidelines of a Nippon event in Chennai.
Indian Arrows, who are now bottom of the I-League with 15 points from 17 games, have acquitted themselves well according to Sereno who pointed out the fact for 17-year-olds to play such a brand of football is nothing short of phenomenal.
"Now he (Norton de Matos) is doing a good job with the U17 team. He transformed that team into a competitive outfit in the I-League.
"They are at the bottom but they have so many points and it is unbelievable. They are 17-year-olds and when you watch the game, I think they are the team playing the best football.
"They are tactically perfect and of course, they are not physically strong. But in six to seven years, if they continue like this, they are going to achieve big things."
The former Valladolid defender goes on to praise the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for reviving the Arrows project despite receiving some flak for fielding young kids against seasoned professionals.
"The project is (very) good. The 17-year-old boys are getting a fantastic opportunity to play with men and they can develop faster than by playing kids of their own age.
"I think it is a great idea by the federation to put the kids in the I-League. I’m sure they will bring a lot of good results."