Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC's Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu believes nothing can surprise him anymore after living in India. The former Brisbane Roar player lampooned that it is normal to see animals scattered around the city as he travels to the training ground.
In an interview given to Australian website The World Game, Paartalu said, "Once you've lived in India, there is nothing in life that can surprise you. Travelling to training, I see cows, goats, horses and wild dogs on the road and it's totally normal.
“Sometimes, when I arrive, there’s a cow at the entrance of our field. I’ve nicknamed him Bluey."
The midfielder's potentially obnoxious comments are sure to have an impact on a section of Indian football fanatics. Some may feel it was unnecessary to talk about their country like that, especially after the furore caused by the comments of former ATK manager Teddy Sheringham after he was sacked by the ISL club. The former Manchester United striker had earlier said that poverty in India was staggering.
Paartalu also spoke about how football clubs in India are backed by cricket stars, reserving special praise for Bengaluru FC's brand ambassador Rahul Dravid.
"Our ambassador is Rahul Dravid, who is an absolute gentleman,” Paartalu said. “I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times. I’ve even been awarded a man of the match from him.