India’s top goalie Subrata Pal’s dream of playing abroad got a boost on Thursday. As part of a one-year deal with Red Bull, Pal will leave for Germany on Friday for a two-week trial with fourth division club RB Leipzig.
With Bhaichung Bhutia having retired from international football and Sunil Chhetri joining Sporting Lisbon ‘B’, Pal was the drink makers’ choice to test an emerging football market.
“This trial is not only for Leipzig. We have clubs and academies in Austria, USA (where Thierry Henry plays), Brazil and Ghana. So, there is a possibility of getting a contract from any of our other clubs also,” said Rohan Vyavaharkar, the company’s national communications manger.
Pal, 25, has taken leave from United SC and also got an okay from the All India Football Federation to join the national camp by August 6. India’s preparation for the Nehru Cup begins on July 27.
But as with every silver lining, there is a cloud. While Pal, India’s only goalie with an eight-figure annual salary, said he has a clause in his contract with United SC that would allow him to leave if he gets an offer from abroad, his current employers denied the claim.
“There is no such clause that he can leave now and join a foreign club. We have granted him leave to train in Germany for two weeks but he can only sign for a foreign team after the first year,” said Siddhartha Bhattacharya, a director at United SC.