The standard of football in India is getting better with each passing year, according to Melbourne City players Dario Vidosic and Eugene Galekovic.
The City Blues will be part of India's first-ever international pre-season tournament set to kick-off on July 24 in Kochi. The A-League club will be joined by La Liga side Girona FC and hosts Kerala Blasters to compete in the five-day long La Liga World tournament to be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
"We are excited about this tournament. We have heard a lot (about Indian football). We have watched it (Indian league) and it has very good standards. When we heard that we are playing against Kerala Blasters, we looked them up. For us, it is our pre-season and we have been training for two weeks. As players, we are looking forward to it," said Melbourne City midfielder Dario Vidisic exclusively to Goal.
After leaving Wellington Phoenix to join Melbourne City midway through the 2017-18 season, the midfielder racked up five goals from 16 appearances. Ahead of his first pre-season with the club, the 31-year-old believes both Girona and Kerala Blasters are teams that can test Melbourne City.
"For us, it is about getting ourselves fit and training hard. It doesn't matter which players they have, Girona is a team from La Liga. If you finish in the top half of La Liga, then you are going to be a very good team.
"It is good to test ourselves and play against one of the best teams in India as well, in front of a big crowd. We are looking to test ourselves and improve.
"We are looking forward to both games. At the moment, we are focused on ourselves. Once we get to India, I am sure we will analyse and take both games very seriously. We won't change much. We will keep the ball and play out from the back," said the Australian international.
Vidosic's teammate, 37-year-old custodian Eugene Galekovic, shared the same view about Indian football. The goalkeeper is an experienced campaigner who spent the majority of his career at Adelaid United before making the movie to City Football Group-owned Melbourne City in 2017.
"When I get time, I do watch it (Indian league). It is at a very good level though it is only four or five years old. Every year I watch it and it gets better. There are big crowds. Hopefully, they come and watch us next week when we play," Galekovic told Goal.
The former Adelaide United goalkeeper considers the upcoming La Liga World tournament as a difficult pre-season challenge.
"Usually, at this time of the season, we play against teams in Melbourne that are at a different level to the teams we are going to be playing in India. So to play these two teams at a high level so early on, it would improve us."
Melbourne City will first take the field in Kochi on July 24 against Kerala Blasters before taking on Girona FC on July 27.