Cricket meets football: Sourav Ganguly’s day out with ‘King’ Valderrama
Sourav Ganguly played host to Colombian football legend Carlos Valderrama, who is currently in India to promote 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.football Updated: Sep 08, 2017 22:54 IST
To the list of football legends who have visited the Mohun Bagan ground, Carlos Valderrama was added, making it a good Friday for the players, officials and fans of the 128-year-old club present. In the past, Pele, Oliver Kahn and Diego Maradona have visited the club’s tent on the Kolkata Maidan.
At the appointed hour, 3:30pm, Valderrama, who wears a lion’s mane on his head, entered the ground in a Mohun Bagan shirt. He was accompanied by wife Elvira who perhaps shares a hairstylist with the midfielder who played 111 times for Colombia including three World Cup finals.
Valderrama spent some time signing shirts before taking to the pitch where Mohun Bagan players had by then stopped training. And though ‘Simba’ is in his sixth decade, ‘El Pibe’ showed the football still remains his friend. To the applause of players, officials and fans, he did three keep-uppy stints, the last time juggling the ball on his feet and thigh 25 times. All the while ensuring the club’s scarf doesn’t slip off the shoulders that helped Colombia to the round of 16 in the 1990 World Cup finals. Valderrama then beat Mohun Bagan goalie Shilton Paul with a penalty-kick.
After around 30 minutes at the club, Valderrama headed to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for a photo-opportunity with the king of Colombian football and the ‘Prince of Kolkata’ Sourav Ganguly in one frame. For once, Ganguly was a fan.
Valderrama reached Kolkata on Thursday evening and will attend a football workshop at a city school on Saturday.