The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is trying to bring football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo during the draw of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mumbai.
Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to visit India in July this year. The Ballon d’Or holder is set to grace the draw for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup that is set to be staged in India this October.
The date of the draw is 7th July, and All India Football Federation president Praful Patel has confirmed that the governing body are locked in talks with the Portugal Football Federation and Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, to set up the 32-year-old’s visit to India.
The FIFA Under-17 World Cup kicks off on the 6th of October. As hosts, India will feature in the 24-team event, which will be the first time an Indian team will participate in a FIFA tournament. The draw is scheduled to be held in Mumbai on the 7th of July, before which we will know the names of all 24 qualified teams.
Ronaldo’s availability depends on his match schedule with Real Madrid as well as the Portugal national team, of which he is the captain.
Patel also admitted to the fact that should Ronaldo not declare his availability, AIFF will try to rope in another big-name star in world football for the occasion of the draw.
Ronaldo’s 2016/17 season with Real Madrid is set to finish on the 4th of June with the Champions League final in Cardiff. He will then link up with his Portugal teammates for the Confederation Cup 2017, which starts in Russia on the 17th of June and ends on the 2nd of July.
Since the date of the draw is five days after the end of the Confederation Cup, Ronaldo should be able to make it to India even if Portugal reach the final.
Ronaldo is the biggest star in world football, and his visit to India could change the entire landscape of football in the country. It will be an endorsement of Indian football from a popular global brand, and judging by the developments in the recent past, Ronaldo coming to India doesn’t look inconceivable.
The AIFF has associated positively with its Portuguese counterpart of late and getting Ronaldo to kick start proceedings for what will be the first ever FIFA tournament in India will be a welcome step in the right direction.