He follows football "to the point that is possible" and does not "stay up till 2am" to watch a game but Sachin Tendulkar enjoys the beautiful game enough to have his favourites - Barcelona and its Argentine superstar Lionel Messi.
"Simply for the feats he (Messi) has achieved. He is one of the best in the world," he told HT on the sidelines of a sub-junior football tournament in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Freed from the pressures of the limited-over format, Tendulkar, who announced his retirement from the T20 league on Sunday, can afford to look beyond cricket, be it football or table tennis, a sport he plays with some dexterity.
Fresh from his team Mumbai Indians' first T20 league title, Tendulkar feels the franchise model could be a hit in other disciplines too, if corporate bodies come forward and support it. But, he has a word of caution.
"One has to see how people respond to it."
It takes a sportsman to understand the pain of another - left out in cold because of turf wars off the field.
"To know that one cannot participate, compete after all the sacrifice and effort is one of the most disheartening things for a player," he said of the Indian athletes caught in the middle of the tussle between the banned Indian Olympic Association and International Olympic Committee.
For India to do well in international events like Olympics, athletes need a platform and space to train and perform, he said. To expect medals in a short span is not fair.